How to Write a Press Release (and who to circulate it to).

A press release should go out before an event and after. 

When writing a press release remember:

  • To ask does the national problem or issue have a local dimension you can exploit? So, for instance, failures at local polling stations could be linked to wider electoral regulation. A local conflict-of-interest scandal could quite easily be tied to the bigger problem of lobbying.
  • Use an inverted pyramid to spell out detail: the most important info in the first paragraph, info of secondary importance in the next, etc.

You could also consider some more blatant piggy-backing - pick a story/scandal/theme running in the nationals and link your story to it.

Format for a press release

Email subject line:

Make sure the headline is short, refers directly to the issue, and includes a ‘searchable’ term. So if it’s lobbying transparency, ‘statutory register’ will get a good number of hits on Google, and is very specific to the campaign.

TITLE:

Repeat subject line title in the body of the email for emphasis. If you need more words to make the message clear, use a subheading.

EMBARGOED UNTIL

Insert date and time here if you want to delay publication until a specific date. If not, change this line to ‘for immediate publication’.

Date

This morning/yesterday morning/etc

In

Place: town/city/village at  at the [insert name of venue i.e. town hall/library/park/etc.

Description

Next step have quick description of the event, nuances, points of interest. You should emphasis that members of the local community were involved or are involved.

Tip: Try to include the words XYZ because they’re the search terms that often direct people to your website. Repeating key words or titles will also raise the search engine hits a press release gets

Local members of campaign group [insert nameyour group nam here] held a protest/debate/competition/game/commemoration.

Key points to include:

  • Any historical events, anniversaries, national occasions, local issues you can tie into?]
  • Mention how what you’re doing will make the world a better place, why those excluded, disempowered, or deprived will be helped, and if it saves money or raises living standards in any way.
  • Campaigning for [lobbying transparency/an elected House of Lords/planning reform/etc - hyperlink to the campaign subpage on Unlock Democracy’s website], members of the group want to see reform of [the campaign, and concise two/three-line summary of arguments.
  • Include hyperlinks to relevant websites, further information on the issue, or any social media - youtube/facebook/twitter/flickr/etc.

Quotes or anecdotes from your campaign to interest journalists and turn the episode into a story.

There might be a local person or a piece of local history you can evoke to give the story an edge. You may have come across someone or some story in the course of what you’re doing - this gives the writer a story to tell.

Final Sentence

[Insert name of group] is planning more local campaigns in the future, and warmly welcomes others in [location] to get involved by signing up on its website: www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk

ENDS

Notes:

Unlock Democracy is a nation-wide non-partisan campaign group that argues for citizens’ rights, civic education, and a better, fairer democracy.

[Some extra information on the campaign issue - its history, present wranglings, quotes from an expert or key player, any statistics].

Contact Details:

Spokesperson telephone number: [0000 000 000]

[If you can, include a mobile number for out-of-hours contact.]

Spokesperson email: [——-@——-.—-]

Find out more at: www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk