How to Write a Press Release

How to Write a Press Release

Press releases can reach thousands of voters at a very low cost and keep supporters engaged in your campaign. If they’re well-written, they are much more likely to be picked up by news outlets. They may even be published as-is, or with minor modifications.

There is stiff competition for the attention of news editors, who get flooded with press releases daily. Most are ignored. So, limit press releases to ones that are well-written and where you can claim to have legitimate news.

Don’t issue badly-written press releases. They can discredit your campaign and make subsequent releases even less likely to be read.

Checklist for writing an effective press release:

  • Have a newsworthy story that appeals to the entire readership of the target media outlet(s).
  • Write it like a reporter would write it, with an objective tone.
  • Make the title as interesting and succinct as possible to grab attention, but be sure it reflects what the press release is about.
  • Open with who-what-when-why-where. The title and first paragraph should convey the essence of the press release.
  • Put the most interesting and relevant information in the first few paragraphs. Do not bury important points. Move less important details to the end.
  • Include a quote from the candidate that is memorable, clear, and appeals to the self-interest of voters. This is the only place in the text where you can opine.
  • It’s okay to include the opinion of the candidate’s opposition – if you can follow it with the candidate’s sound and convincing rebuttal.
  • Be sure the piece mentions at least one of the candidate’s proposals for less government.
  • Be sure it mentions some of the benefits that those proposal(s), if enacted, will provide for everyday voters.
  • Keep it punchy and interesting. Delete every word, sentence, and paragraph that lacks meaning and relevance to the release.
  • Have at least one person with expert spelling, grammar and punctuation skills proofread your release.

Include a quality photo of the candidate, or even better, an action shot relevant to the news story, e.g., giving a speech at the event that the release is about. This will grab the attention of editors and journalists, and make their life easier if they would otherwise have to chase down a photo. Include a caption with action shots identifying who’s in it, where they are, and what they’re doing.

IMPORTANT: for print media, it must be high-resolution. Most photos posted on the Internet are low-resolution and inadequate for print.

If you have the time, contact the media outlets or reporters directly whom you most want to use your release.

If you don’t have skilled writers on your team, consider hiring a reporter to write releases for you. There are many unemployed journalists today who charge reasonable rates.