Hannah Brazee Gregory
Following some basic rules will keep you from shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to preparing and sending press releases.
- Follow a press release template. Get one if you do not have one.
- Always include your organization’s “boiler plate” paragraph.
- Put a name and contact information on every release and always be available and return calls quickly after you send a release.
- Write the release as though it is a story already in the newspaper.
- Send the release to the most appropriate journalists only.
- Send first to journalists you already have a relationship with.
- Keep it sweet and simple. The most important information should appear in a short two to three-sentence sentence opening paragraph.
Don’ts (the most common mistakes):
- Do not write a press release in first person.
- Do not ask the reporter if they are going to use the release. You can, however, call and make sure they received it.
- Never, ever ask to review a story that a reporter is working on.
- Do not send out a release about something not so important when you have something big around the corner that needs attention.
- Do not send out a release without having it proofed, reviewed and approved by appropriate staff.
- Do not send out multiple releases at the same time.
- Do not put in contact names of people that will be unavailable.