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 the toolkit

Press Release

In this section

Writing a Press Release

The aim of a press release is to provide journalists with something relevant/interesting which will appeal to their readers. This may include an announcement, event or new information about a particular issue. Before creating your press release, always consider who your audience is.

Structure

A typical structure for a press release looks like this:

  1. Date
  2. Headline
  3. Detail in order of importance
  4. Deeper background and also information about the organisation/client
  5. Contact details
  6. Notes for editors/additional information

Pyramid Style

This classic journalistic style is most commonly used for this type of writing. It is where the important facts are summarised first then expanded, usually in the form of Who, What, When, Where, Why. You should consider each of these questions to ensure that the main elements of the story are covered.

Headline

Journalists get a lot of press releases so the headline should be as interesting as possible. Ensure it contains key words, reflecting the whole story. Some people choose to write the headline after the release itself to ensure this happens.

Body copy

After writing the opening paragraph, the second paragraph should follow on quickly with additional information. The third paragraph is a good place to insert a quote. Always put the person’s name first, perhaps followed by their role, and then ‘said’. The closing paragraph can also be used for a quote if it supports the whole story. Always indicate the story has ended with the word ‘end’. Remember to link your sentences and keep paragraphs simple and jargon free.

Snappy and to the point

Please note that a press release is more likely to get a journalist’s attention if it is short, simple and to the point. They don’t have much time and will simply scan your story in a few seconds so aim for quality rather than quantity.

A journalist is looking for:

 

Contributed by Barbara Clark, Head of Communications at VisitScotland

Further helpful tips can be found on the following websites:

http://www.pressbox.co.uk/contpr1.htm and http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/actionnetwork/A428894

 


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