Use a letter-sized format with plain white paper. Set BIG margins, like 2 inches. This is to give room for the journalist’s notes. At the top of the page, include:
- Name, address, phone number and email address of your organization, and the name of a contact person. This info should appear on each page in your package. If possible, give a cell phone number for after-hours questions.
- Brief description of any photos or images you are sending.
- Date: guess at the date the journalist will receive the release.
- The words “For Immediate Release.” If you have a good reason to delay the release of the information, you may also specify a date such as “For release after 12 p.m., November 12, 2013.”
- Write a brief headline to summarize your story.
Set your document for double spacing, type several returns (blank spaces) then type your city, state and date:
“Atlanta, GA. October 10, 2013—Acme Carpet Cleaning launched a…”
Now you’re ready to roll! Organize your story into paragraphs. Put the most important information at the beginning. Each subsequent paragraph should be less important than the previous one so the editor can shorten your story if needed.
Keep It Simple and Easy to Follow
Use short paragraphs and short sentences. Stick to the facts, using as few adjectives as possible. Use active voice: “The used book sale earned over $5,000,” rather than passive voice: “over $5,000 was earned by the used book sale.”
Try very hard to keep the release to one page, unless it’s really, really earth-shaking. If you run over onto page two, write the word “MORE” several times across the bottom of page one. Begin page two with the name of your organization, the date and the headline. When you reach the end of the release, type “–30–” or “# # #” several times across the bottom. Double-check your facts and your spelling!