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How-To Guide

Writing Your Press Kit

Here are some tips to help you write your press release:

  • Use straight, to-the-point language and try not to include jargon.
  • Avoid using conjunctive phrases (such as wasn't and isn't), and keep a lid on hyperbole ("It's the most fantastic event of its kind").
  • Be factual. Don't guess your facts and don't distribute old information.
  • Properly define abbreviations or acronyms for organizations, objects, and so on.
  • Be sure that the editor can easily determine the major facts from your press release. As part of your preparation, organize your facts as follows, stating
  • who you are;
  • what you are doing;
  • when you're doing it;
  • how you'll do it;
  • where you'll do it;
  • and why you're doing it.

Here are format suggestions:

  • A banner tells an editor that your document is a press release and who sent it.
    The headline summarizes an essential fact and can be a bit more creative and suggest a theme.
  • A slugline is optional and can back up the headline with a secondary fact.
  • The first line of the release is called a lead line. Open with the story location and the release date. The first sentence of the release should explain the headline in one complete sentence. A lead line can be about 15 to 20 words long and is often the only part of the release that an editor will read. Unlike the Step One and Two releases, your lead line for Step Three releases can be creative, like a cleverly descriptive phrase or a thought-provoking narrative.
  • The body of the release is the story (don't forget to double space). Put the most important information first, followed by information in order of diminishing value.
  • Boilerplates are important because they are the only part of a press release that is repeated, word for word, in every release you write. Start with who, follow with what, and end with address, phone numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail and Web site addresses.
  • The closer is the "###" used as the universal symbol that a story has ended.

Sample Press Release