The “Bones” of a Press Release

Can you draw between the numbers on a follow-the-dots picture? Are you able to “slide tab A into  slot A?” If you can complete both of these tasks, you can write a press release. What is a press release? Very simply, this is a written statement that announces an upcoming event. You distribute this statement to members of the media, whether broadcast, print or Internet, for publication to the general public.

The “Bones” of a Press Release
Writers and journalists hear the words “press release” and they freeze. Perhaps they react out of the belief that “only experienced public relations specialists write up press releases.” Well, yes, they do. You can, too. By following a specific format, you’ll quickly learn what press releases are supposed to look like and how to produce one. After writing a few, the job gets much easier.

Use printed company letterhead, including the company name, address, website address and phone number at the top of the paper. Underneath this, “PRESS RELEASE” should be centered and typed in bold capital letters. Beneath the words “press release,” type the contact person’s name and every contact phone number for that person. Two spaces under the contact information, type
IMMEDIATE RELEASE or EMBARGOED UNTIL XX DATE, 20–. This should be on the left margin.

Center and type the title or headline in boldface. The title should be short: “Trio los Guapos CD Release Concert.”

Body or content of the press release.

Type the dateline
–February 29, 2012 Albuquerque

Include the journalistic “who, what, when, where and why” of the press release.

The first paragraph is the “what” of the press release – a CD release concert for the Latin guitar group Trio los Guapos.

The second paragraph should include where the release concert will be held and when it will be held. In short, this is the “who cares and why you should care” paragraph. Include a quote from one of the group’s members – this should be a “human interest” quote, perhaps how the group got started and their excitement about playing for a hometown crowd.

The final paragraph sums up the core of the press release, giving out additional information about the guitar group. The contact information for the group should be included here.

Press Release Format
Use a professional, easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman in 12-point font. Set the page for double-spacing, which allows newspaper editors to jot down notes and make editing marks in between each line as needed. Ideally, your press release should take up no more than one page. If it extends to a second page, move two lines of type to the second page. On the bottom of the first page, center and type “-more-.” On the top right corner of the second page type “Page Two” and include a brief slug line, which is the title of the press release and the date immediately under “Page Two.” At the end of the release, indicate the end by centering and typing three pound marks.

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