The most important things to remember are this: You must answer WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW. Also, you must PROOF READ your press release before sending.
Here is the basic page layout, in the following order:
The first paragraph after the headline – This is your “lead” and should pique the interest of the reporter while providing some information. Don’t try to explain everything, but feature the most important or compelling part of the story. Think of it as a quick memo to the reporter.
The second paragraph – This backs up and expands your lead. Use the two together to cover “who, what, where, when, why and how,” with the most important of those in the lead. By the end of the second paragraph, the importance of your story should be apparent and the reader should be interested.
The body of the press release – Write the story with the most important information first. Things that are less relevant go toward the end. (This is the inverted pyramid style of a news story.) A reporter is going to read the release as fast as they can, so don’t bury something crucial or phenomenal in the last paragraph. Keep sentences succinct and paragraphs short.
Concluding the press release– At the very bottom, include a boilerplate, 3-4 line description of The Fuller Center for Housing + local info about your partner. Do not use the mission statement.
Think Like a Reporter…
Reporters are busy and often skeptical of a press releases’ value, especially at large news organizations. Your press release will likely end up in the trash if you don’t remember the following:
Whom to send a press release to:
Guidelines for Sending Press Releases:
In general, you should mail (and/or email) a press release TEN days before an event and follow up with a phone call within THREE days of the event. (If a reporter comes to your event, meet with them, treat them as a special guest and follow up with a thank-you email or phone call.)
When you call before the event, do not ask the reporter if they got your release. Call them to briefly pitch the news and remind them of your story. Be prepared to do an impromptu interview. Have other important contact information available. But, also be prepared to be ignored. Don’t get discouraged! We frequently have success calling local TV stations the morning of an event.
Press releases announcing a newsworthy non-event (a prominent city member joins your effort or a local business gives you a big donation, for example) should go out as soon as you have confirmation or immediately after it happens.
If you have specific questions or would like your press release to be edited (unfortunately, we cannot write it for you), please don’t hesitate to contact Vice President of Communications Chris Johnson at email@example.com.
Helpful hint: If you want to search for a specific topic in the Operations Manual, search for the word “manual” followed by a “+” sign and then a specific term. For example, if you want to know more about hammers, you would search for “manual+hammers”.