Seven tips for writing a good press release

  1. Come up with a catchy and concise headline for your release. This should be written in bold and in a larger font than the main body of the release. Sub-headings can also be used to highlight key aspects of your story, for example if a VIP guest is attending your event. These should again be in bold, but in a slightly smaller font than the headline.

  2. The first paragraph should sum up your release in a couple of short sentences maximum, with the remainder of the release body elaborating on it. A good rule is to use the ‘5 W’s’: who, what, when, where, why. This allows journalists to quickly see what your story is about at a glance—the more interesting you can make the first paragraph the more likely they are to read to the end of the release.

  3. The length of your press release should be a single page. Keep it clear, avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs, repetition, fancy language and jargon. Make sure the release is grammatically correct and doesn’t contain any spelling mistakes.

  4. Include a quote from your spokesperson and/or, if possible, a comment from any VIP guests scheduled to attend. This can be used to add colour to the story and allows busy journalists to complete an article without the need for a follow-up interview.

  5. Insert a ‘call to action’ in the main body of the release—the information that you want the public to take away from any article they read, e.g. a webpage they can visit to find out more about your event, or a phone number to call to let you know they would like to attend.

  6. The main body of your press release should be followed by a ‘notes to editors’ section, to include contact details and information about your library, and that of Libraries Week. If you have photography available, state that photos can be supplied on request. Contact details should include a name, telephone number (mobile optional) and email address for any enquiries relating to your story.

  7. Use your headline for the subject field of your email. Where possible, do not post or fax across press information as this will likely go unopened and / or straight into the recycling bin!