HOW TO PREPARE A PRESS RELEASE AND MEDIA ADVISORY
A press release is a written or recorded communication, typically sent via fax or email, directed to members of the media providing newsworthy information.
A news advisory is similar to a press release, but focuses on a specific event. It also serves as an invitation for journalists to attend the event.
Starting at the TOP of the page, all press releases should contain:
- At the top of the page should be your organization’s logo or the network/coalition name.
- Press Release – (The information can be used as soon as the reporter gets it.) Or Embargoed (The reporter cannot use the news until the specified date.)
- The date the release is distributed.
- Contact person(s) and number(s), including cellular phone number(s) of the media point person at your organization.
- The headline is key. Most reporters have 30 seconds to scan a release. They want the news to jump out at them. Summarize your news into a headline. The headline can be up to four lines long, centered, in bold face and written all in capital letters, usually in a larger type size. The headline should capture the larger frame of the news, communicate a sense of drama and pull reporters into the story.
- After the headline, the first paragraph – “The Lead” – is critical. This is the summary paragraph that communicates the most important components, and frames the issue for maximum media impact. Do not try to explain everything in this paragraph.
- Write the remainder of the press release in descending order of importance. In journalism, this is called the “inverted-pyramid” style of writing. The most important, base-laying news goes at the top, the less important details below.
- Frame your news – By the end of the lead paragraph, establish its importance impact and your position. At the latest, your news should be framed by the end of the second paragraph.
- Include one or two concise quotes (1-2 sentences) in the press release.
- End press release with the marks: ###.This lets the journalists know the release has ended. If your release continues on the next page, write “more” at the bottom and center it. At the top of the corner of the next page, write “Page 2” and provide a subject reference.
Please check the “Samples” section of your campaign tool kit CD for a sample press release and media advisory or visit www.nlaad.org