When writing a press release the first thing you need to ask yourself is, why am I writing this, who will be interested and why do they need to know.
If your answers to the above are that you don’t know, then you probably shouldn’t be writing a press release. Stories that are pushed out to the media have to be engaging and interesting in order to catch the eye of a journalist. Journalists receive lots of press releases daily so you need to make yours the one that they want to read.
Use your title as a means of drawing in your reader. Try and be quirky, and play around with your titles so they aren’t simply a summary of the first line of your press release.
The who, what, why
As journalists are busy people, they may only read the first paragraph of your press release. You should make sure that all your important points are made in that first paragraph, the who, what, why.
Whenever possible include a quote in your press release. Adding an individual’s voice to the press release gives a personal angle and a face to the story.
Before issuing your press release double check all your facts, figures, dates, statistics and anything else that could potentially be inaccurate. Always get another member of the team to proofread your work before it is sent out. Although it may read well to you, a fresh pair of eyes can always find small errors and typos.
Whenever possible you should offer journalists images to run alongside the story. Write a sentence in your ‘Further information’ explaining how journalists can get hold of your photographs, this may be a link to a Google Drive or contact details with someone who is able to send images over quickly. Don’t paste your images into a Word document.
Journalists may want to get extra information or clarification on a point made in your press release. It’s important that you offer contact details in case they need to speak with someone.
You may also want to offer a member of your organisation up for interview. This will usually be the person who is quoted in the press release. In this instance, you should state that interviews are available and indicate what the best contact details are.
Issuing the press release
When sending out your press release you should think about when you would like the story to appear in the media. If you are writing about an upcoming event, you shouldn’t send the release out after the event. Instead send your release out a couple of days ahead giving journalists time to turn the story around. It is also important not to send your press release out too early as this can easily get lost in a journalist’s inbox.
Media outlets in West Yorkshire
Here are a number of media outlets that you could send your press releases to:
- BBC Look North
- ITV Calendar
- BBC Radio Leeds
- Radio Aire
- Radio Yorkshire
- Yorkshire Post
- Yorkshire Evening Post