Write Press Releases
By Joan Whetzel
Press releases produce written statements for the news media informing them of important changes or events within an organization. Frequently, the media uses these press releases as part of a news story. My husband's train club had a store front in one of the local malls. When the mall was due to close, they were forced to look for a new home. Part of their search involved a press release to the local newspaper. It resulted in a news article and a contact with the management of another local mall willing to put them up in one of their store fronts.
Press Release Headline
Press release headlines are worded like the headlines you see on the front page of the newspaper, and are meant to work in the same manner. The idea is to use a few exciting key words to draw the reader's attention and let him or her know what's happening right now. The Headline lists what the press release is for, the headline title, and the date information. Exampe:
B. B. Wolfe Productions RELEASE:
"ENDANGERED WOLVES", A 3D DOCUMENTARY HOSTED BY B.B. WOLFE
SHOWING AT HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE IMAX THEATER, BEGINNING FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2006
Notice all the lines are flush left and typed in bold. Use either Times New Roman or Courier 12-pt. font for the entire document. From here on out, write the document using block paragraphs (no indentions) and keep the entire document on one page.
Press Release Body
The body includes a few paragraphs containing the enticing details that will draw the reader in to find out the answers to the questions: who, what, where, when and why. The body should wind up the press release with a few additional details about the main person or people involved and the organization sponsoring the event. End it with a call to action (what you want the audience to do). Example:
Houston, Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - B.B. (Big Bad) Wolfe, the famous wolf historian and controversial star of numerous plays, movies, and fairy tales, opens Wolf History Month early with a 3D documentary that you can really sink your teeth into. "Endangered Wolves" lights up the IMAX screen at Houston Museum of Natural Science beginning Friday, September 23 and running through October 31, 2011.
B.B.'s hard-hitting docudrama discusses how fables, fairy tales, and other myths have given wolves a bad name. Wolfe covers a different topic in each segment of the film, titled: "Sheep in Wolves' Clothing: Aesop's Lies About Wolves and Sheep Herding", "The Three Pigs, or The Swindling Swine", "Little Red Riding Hood was a Hoodlum", and "The REAL Truth About Wolves" in which Wolfe dispels all of the falsehoods created by wolf lore.
"Over the Years," says Wolfe, "I have read all the literature and even acted in a number of plays and movies authored by biased and unscrupulous humans. That was in my early days of course."
In the last ten years, however, Wolfe has found his niche in writing, directing, and producing his own plays and movies that portray his fellow canines in the positive light he feels they deserve.
Wolfe has also led a number of campaigns to protect wolves including "The Wolf Anti-Prejudice League" and "Wolves Against Treacherous Canine Hunters" or W.A.T.C.H. He has also lead numerous protests across the country in which B.B. and his fellow wolves marched dressed as pigs and sheep.
B.B. was born in Farmington, Montana in 1974. His clan has been living in the Farmington area since the 1850s. B.B.'s acting career, spanning 25 years, has produced numerous Emmy and Tony nominations but no awards so far.
"There's always next year," B.B. says.
IMAX ticket prices are $11 adults, $9 children (3-11) and $5 for school groups. Order your tickets now, advance ticket sales for the first weekend are almost sold out.
Closing Up with the Company Info
Include the company's name and contact information at the bottom of the press release, flush left. Example:
B. B. Wolfe Productions is owned and operated by W. A. T. C. H. Mr. Wolfe, the President and CEW of B. B. Wolfe Productions can be contacted by writing to him at: 2525 Plaza de los Lobos, Houston, Texas; by calling: 281-555-5555; or through the B. B. Wolfe Productions website at: http://www.realtruthaboutwolves.com/
Finally, let the media know that the press release is complete by centering 3 pound signs at the very bottom of the page, like this:
Writing press releases is easy. It consists of the basic journalistic pyramid article writing. Just remember to keep it short and sweet - and lively. It's well worth the effort. If you need more clarification there is plenty of information available to help you write that perfect News Release.