A press release is a piece of information distributed to newspaper,
television, or radio journalists which is published or broadcast as a piece
of news. It can cover a variety of topics, including:
- Information on new products or services
- Information on developments in a company
- News of new appointments or promotions
An effective press release should contain news rather than thinly
disguised advertising, and it should reflect readers' interests.
The release may be used without modification if it is newsworthy and if
space permits. The press release mat be cut to fit available space without
any further reference to you. In some cases, a journalist or editor may
contact you for further information and rewrite the item in the style of the
publication. Sometimes the information may not be used, because it is not
newsworthy or not relevant to the readership. Alternatively, although the
main press release may not be used, an accompanying photograph may be used
with a caption.
The following guidelines will help you produce an effective press
- Press releases should be typed double spaced
- The source of the release should be clearly identified
- A contact name for further information should be provided
- Any limitations on use or timing of publication should be clearly
highlighted, for example, "not for publication before…"
- The most important information should be included in the early
paragraphs. If an editor is short of space, the press release will be
cut as simply and quickly as possible, probably from the bottom upward.
- Quotes are useful and are frequently used by editors.
- Photographs or diagrams add value to the release and may help to
Press releases can be delivered by hand or by mail, depending on
quantity. They can also be sent by email or placed on s web site so that
they can be picked up by visiting journalists. Whenever possible, they
should be sent to a named individual. Information on editorial contacts,
with details of their special interests, is available in publications like
Public Relations Quarterly, which is updated regularly. If you do not want
the information published before a certain date for reasons of commercial
security, include an embargo - "not for publication before … "
Check the publication dates or magazines or newspapers on your
distribution list. This information is available in publications such as
Public Relations Quarterly. An editorial copy date will be indicated. Ensure
that your release reaches the editor by that date at the latest.