How to write a press release - checklist

Writing a press release

Use this checklist to help you write an effective press release, including how to structure it, what you need to include and what format to use.

  • Decide which publication your target audience reads.
  • Focus on creating a news story which will suit the publication and audience you are targeting.
  • Create an interesting headline which will encourage your audience to read on.
  • Include all the key points of the story in a brief opening paragraph.
  • Continue with additional paragraphs providing more information, in order of importance.
  • Keep the piece short, typically 300 words at most, using short sentences and paragraphs of 60 words at most.
  • Include your contact details in case further information is needed.
  • If necessary, add more detailed background information in a separate ‘note to editors’.
  • Write in the style of the publication, avoiding inappropriate jargon or overly technical language.
  • Consider including quotes to add colour to the article.
  • Find out who you should send your release to, what the deadline for copy is and in which format they prefer to receive releases (eg as an attachment to an email or simply as an email).
  • Craft an attention-grabbing subject line to encourage the journalist or editor to notice and open the email.
  • Write ‘PRESS RELEASE’ across the top of the page and use a letterhead template if you have one.
  • If possible, include an interesting and relevant picture; check the publication’s requirements for print and what format you should use when sending it by email.
  • Check your spelling and any factual information.
  • Review whether the piece is interesting, in the right style, and could be cut at the end of any paragraph and published without further editing.

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