News Release Hints
A news release is basic to gaining media attention. Preparing your announcement from the perspective of the busy news editor who sees several requests for coverage every day is vital to the success of your communications efforts. The following guidelines should be followed in preparing news releases.
Write a brief release, limiting your information to the key facts. Begin by writing a newspaper-style headline, centered at the top of your page. Include a catchy lead sentence and paragraph that will grab the attention of your audience and also answer the six basic journalistic questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how. Place all crucial information at the beginning. Avoid editorializing and using too many adjectives.
Prepare the release by typing it double-spaced on 8×11″ agency letterheads. If it runs longer, use plain white bond for the second page. Type the words “NEWS RELEASE,” your name, title, and daytime number at the top of the first page. Include a release date. If copy goes to a second page, type “MORE” at the bottom of the first page. Type a brief identifier at the top of page two (such as “United Way Kickoff – page 2”). Indicate the end of the release by centering “-30-” two lines after the last sentence.
Always proofread at least once before distributing.
In distributing the release, if you are announcing a new program, volunteer officers, a major accomplishment, etc., fax, mail or hand-deliver the release to the appropriate media contacts three to five days before the date you want coverage. For coverage of an actual event, send a media advisory (contains basic information only, such as the event, date, time, place) requesting coverage at least one week before the event. Later, follow up with a news release about the event and make follow-up calls one to two days before the event.