OK you gotta write a press release… now what?
It really is not that hard!
1. Gather your facts - who, what, when, where, why. Get a quote or two if you can.
2. Label it a "News Release" - that way you can send it to any media form, not just newspapers
3. Be sure to give them your name and contact information! They may want to contact you to get more information, do an even bigger story, check something out, or just say hello. But if you leave this off, it will surely end up in the trashcan.
4. Give it a good headline. If you can, try to put the link to something local right there in the headline. News people like to say "All news is local" so give them what they want right at the start.
5. Note that the main body starts with your town, state and the date of the release, then a double dash.
6. Absolutely NEVER put in something that is not true. You might get away with it once, but "you'll never work in this town again." If you do a press release and later find out you were in error, immediately call the editor and tell them. They can understand that - we all goof at times. They may not like it, but they can deal with it and will see you as trying to do it right.
7. The first sentence has to tell the reader what it is and why it is important.
8. Press releases are NOT full stories. They are summaries. Most are only one page long and two at the max. The intent is to get a short, interesting piece into the editor's hands they can fit in easily. If they come looking for more to do a larger article, so much the better.
9. Check to find out how the editors would like it sent to them. Some only want email, some like faxes best. Others want snail-mail. Each one is different, so ask them. Start out on their good side.
10. Remember, PR is not the same as advertising. We are asking editors for space - we cannot demand nor expect it. We're not paying for it like advertisers do. If your release is not published, don't get miffed. You can call and ask about it in a friendly way and see if they will tell you how you can write a better piece for them in the future.
11. There are a lot of books available which can tell you how to write a press release. Most cost too much and could be done in one chapter. Public Relations for Dummies is one of the better ones.
The press release below is a sample to show you how it all comes together.
For more information, contact
Allen Pitts, W1AGP
Media and Public Relations Manager
Amateur Radio in Action as Problems Parade Through Our City
Newington, Conn., Feb. 01, 2009 -- This is a sample press release and this sentence would say what and why it is important. Note that it is clearly labeled and the contact information is right there up at the top for the editors to check if needed. The text is Times New Roman and 12 point. The lines are at LEAST 1.5 spaces apart, or some use double space. The end is clearly marked (often with ### , 333 or similar marks). The first sentence must immediately tell the editor what it is all about and give a sense of the importance of the piece.
A press release is RARELY the whole story. Usually a release is just one page and very rarely more than two. The point is to raise interest in the topic and show the “news hook” to the recipient. Condominium associations who once looked at ham antennas as an eye-sore are now seeking people with these “ugly ham antennas” as a source of and help in the storms.
Always try to include a quote from someone important to the story, and make sure you have their full title and spell it right! "Ham radio will certainly be part of the fabric of homeland defense and Amateur Radio operators have always been of the mindset that they want to do something for their country," says ARRL president Jim Haynie. President Haynie later had occasion to show this was more than just talk when he himself went out into the storm to aid in replacing a dipole antenna that had blown down.
Move from the specific to the general info. Photo notations go after the end and are best in jpg format. For decades, Amateur Radio operators have been there during emergencies. Today, there are nearly 680,000 Amateur Radio operators in the United States and more than 2.5 million worldwide. Information on how to become involved in Amateur Radio is available from the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main StreetNewington, CT06111 or by calling 1-800-32-NEW HAM. The URL for ARRL's home page is www.arrl.org.
Courtesy of: name of who took the picture
Short description of what it is or caption