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.
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.
Insert date and time here if you want to delay publication until a specific date. If not, change this line to ‘for immediate publication’.
This morning/yesterday morning/etc
Place: town/city/village at at the [insert name of venue i.e. town hall/library/park/etc.
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 name your group name 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.
[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
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].
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