Press Release Writing Tips

A press release should be timely, informative, and well written. A press release should generate media attention for your story, not tell the whole story, so it's important to keep it brief. The format of a press release is similar to an inverted pyramid. The first paragraph should contain the main ideas of the story, and subsequent paragraphs should elaborate further with additional information. Think of the first paragraph as a brief summary of the news you wish to present in the release.

A press release should provide a reporter with the facts; describe who, what, when, where, and how. Here are some additional ideas to keep in mind when writing a press release:

  • Don't advertise – If your release has a promotional rather than factual angle, it will most likely be turned down by your media contact.
  • Create an "attention-getting" headline – You should convey immediately why your news is important.
  • Write for your audience – Clearly indicate to the editor why your news is important to his/her readers. You should include noteworthy quotes, background information, and illustrate the value of this information.
  • The release should have your city (in capital letters) and date starting the first sentence.
  • Your release should follow Associated Press writing style. Most libraries or bookstores offer an AP writing guide.
  • Include quotes in your release. Be sure to get permission from the individuals quoted prior to putting them in your release.
  • Include a boilerplate – Write a brief summary about your camp's services, and goals to emphasize your credibility – mention your years in business, contact information, etc.

Formatting suggestions:

  • 8 1/2- by 11-inch paper.
  • Use at least one-inch margins.
  • Use "###" or "-30-" to indicate the end of the release.
  • Use bold typeface for headlines.
  • Capitalize the first letter of every word in the headline with the exception of articles (i.e., "a", "an," "and," or "the") or prepositions (i.e., "of," "to," or "from"). Note that this combination of upper and lower case words makes the headline easier to read.
  • Always include contact information, including the phone number for the person who should be contacted for additional information.
  • Get to the point with as few words as possible. Experts recommend 300 words or a maximum of 500 words.

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