77 Tips for Writing a SuccessfulPress Release

The following tips will help you create a press release that editors will want to put in the paper:

  • THE EVENT MUST BE OPEN TO EVERYONE

Because of space restrictions, papers do not use notices from clubs unless the public can attend.

  • TYPE OR PRINT CLEARLY

You wouldn’t believe some of the scribble that is sent to papers. Editors can’t use it if they can’t read it.

  • MAKE SURE ALL THE BASIC QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN (time and date) AND WHY

A recent press release read: “A free sled ride will be held 8 o’clock Friday to benefit ….” It never said if that was 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. or where the ride was taking place.

  • GET THE RELEASE TO US IN PLENTY OF TIME

The release needs to be edited, typed and proofed. The paper needs to get it about a week in advance.

  • KEEP IT AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE

Again, because of space limitations.

  • TELL THE FACTS, NOT OPINIONS

The paper can’t print opinions unless they have a source to quote from the news release. If you do include an opinion, make sure it is attributed to someone.

  • ALWAYS INCLUDE THE NAME OF A CONTACT PERSON AND PHONE NUMBER

If the editor has questions about a release, or wants to arrange a photo or longer story, he/she needs to know who to call.

  • DON’T TRY TO BE FANCY. JUST SAY IT PLAIN

Here are two examples of recent releases editors had to change: The first, about maple syruping, read like sap to the editors: “If you’ve ever wondered how that wonderful concoction that you slather over your pancakes, French toast and ice cream is made, now’s the time to find out.”

The second, from a college professor, was to tell the editors that his class would be tracing family history. “The coursework will be focusing on concepts and methodologies of history and historical anthropology through active integration of family history.” Whew!

  • DON’T BE OFFENDED IF THEY CUT OR CHANGE THE RELEASE

Every release is changed to conform to newspaper style. Many are cut down because papers have lots of news to get in.

 

Model Press Release

From:   North Country Girl Scout Council                                 Contact:           Sharon Smith
            155 Boynton Avenue                                                                            561-0000
            Plattsburgh, N.Y. 12901
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
GIRL SCOUT CAMP REGISTRATION BEGINS
            PLATTSBURGH – North Country Girl Scout Council will be accepting registration applications April 1, 2004 for day camp beginning July 6. Camp is open to all Scout and non-scout girls in Brownie and Junior levels (ages 6-11).
            A bus, donated by the Ernest Turner Memorial Fund, will pick up girls at three designated locations – St. Peter’s parking lot, North Country Shopping Center and at the Donneymede on Route 9 – starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday thru Friday. The bus will deliver the campers back to the pick-up sites starting at 3 p.m.
            Tapawingo will feature four one-week sessions this summer. Weekly programs will vary, but will include health and safety awareness, arts, crafts, songs, drama, campfire skills, tent raising, recreation and field games, and water-front activities.
            The weekly fee of $25 per one-week session includes a Thursday overnight with dinner and Friday breakfast and lunch. Girls are to bring a bag lunch daily and milk will be provided.
            “The Lake Champlain area was the home of Native Americans and in preserving the heritage of our land, our Girl Scout Camp was named ‘Tapawingo’, which means ‘A Place of Joy,’” stated Mrs. Jan Dean, director of Tapawingo. “In establishing a tradition with the meaning of Tapawingo, one day will be set aside as a ‘Tapawingo Day’ in which Indian lore and heritage and games will be experienced by the girls.”
            The girls will experience some hand pottery, candle dipping, creating a ‘Human Totem Pole’ and building a teepee. Each girl will have the option to keep a camp log (record of daily happenings) and to make name signs from cedar shingles and rawhide to hang on their lean-tos and to take home with them after the week’s activities.
            The efforts of volunteers enables the program to be offered at this low cost. Some volunteers work the entire time, some can give a week, and others one or two days. Other volunteers help for an hour or two to teach a special activity. A REBATE is available, for up to 2 campers, for any adult who qualifies as Volunteers Staff for a full session. The REBATE is one-half of the Session Fee for each camper. Persons interested in volunteering are asked to call the North Country Girl Scout Office at 561-0000.
            Scholarships are also available to both Scout and non-Scout girls through funding received from the Clinton County Youth Bureau and North Country Girl Scout Council.
            Camp Brochures are now available and can be picked up at the Girl Scout office on Boynton Avenue any weekday from 9 to 5. Other Girl Scout day camp opportunities are being offered at Lake Clear and at Pine Ridge. Residents camp is being offered at Lake Clear also.
            A New York State Licensed Registered Nurse and a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor will be at camp during all hours of operation.

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Technical Writing by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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