Getting Your Message Out
How to Write a Press Release
Press releases are an important and easy way to get your story out to journalists and the public. A press release is a short document of 600 words or less that answers the critical questions of your news development: who, what, when, where and why. It can include quotes from leaders in your effort or concerned members. Send the press release to journalists and editors individually via email, post screenshots of your press release on your social media accounts, post it on accounts you start at Medium.com, Substack.com, Patch.com or the many other platforms available to disseminate your message for free.
Get your message out. Control your narrative!
Headline: Use a short and snappy title that includes your organization’s name and explains clearly and quickly what the press release is about. Example: Concerned Iowa Parents Hold a Rally to Protest Critical Race Theory in Schools.
Contact: Immediately tell reporters the email and, preferably, phone contact for your organization and media coordinator. You can use your main email address if you want.
City and State: Tell readers where the news is happening.
Lead: In one paragraph of about 50 words or less, explain clearly and concisely what is happening. Tell them who is involved: you! Example: In an effort to protect race-blind, merit-based education in public schools, Concerned Parents of Boston today filed a lawsuit in federal district court, alleging discrimination against Asian students.
Body: In 500 words or less, write the details of the news you want to get out with the most important information first. This is where you spell out the details of the who, what, when where and how of your news story.
Add hyperlinks, for example, to your organization or supporting documents.
High up in the press release, explain further who you are. For example: Concerned Parents of Boston is a grassroots group formed in June 2020 after local school officials started talks to overhaul the admissions process for Boston schools.
Add quotes from leaders and members to support your news story. For example: Aruna Gupta, the mother of a 12-year-old in Boston, said, “The new admissions process is an injustice to students everywhere.”
End: In the media, it is traditional to end a press release with ### centered at the bottom of the text, so that journalists know that the press release has ended.
Press release template outline
For immediate release
HEADLINE (15 words or less)
Name of Press Contact:
CITY, STATE — Lead paragraph (50 words or less)
Body of the press release (500 words or less)
About the organization or group
Boilerplate about the organization (50 words or less)