Creating an Effective Press Release

Why a Press Release?

  • Name recognition
  • Potential free media placement
  • Informing customers about new products or developments
  • Keeping customers informed
  • Building relationships

The Goal of a Press Release:

  • The goal is Newsworthiness & Timeliness in the opinion of a publication’s editor
  • The editor must understands the details and think that other people will be interested

 When to use a Press Release?

  • Anniversaries, milestones
  • Classes or service offerings
  • Event announcement
  • Goodwill/humanitarian efforts initiated by your club or organization.
  • New services and offerings (e.g., women’s only practice)
  • Opinions (editorials) on pertinent subjects
  • Personnel changes
  • Promotion, contest, or give-away
  • Results from competitions (care should be taken to avoid making people think USMS is only for competitions).

General Instructions

  • Length - Keep to 1 page or less (if 2, include "Page 1 of 2" numbering & "more at the bottom" at the end of page 1).
  • By Mail - On 8-1/2 x 11 Letterhead, one side.
  • By e-mail - Place properly formatted Press Release directly in e-mail body; zero attachments!
  • It is advisable NOT to follow up after issuing a press release



 Part 1 - Date Instructions

  • Either "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" or if time sensitive, "FOR RELEASE BEFORE (or AFTER) [DATE]" in capital letters
  • Be sensitive and know media editor’s deadlines for optimum issuance, check with the publication
  • Send release out well in advance of your event

Part 2 - The Headline

  • Use bold font
  • Attention-grabbing
  • Benefits-oriented (why would it be of interest to people?) and descriptive
  • Use news language, not hype/promotion

Part 3 - Corporate Contact Information

  • As much relevant information as possible and easy for media to contact you
  • Name, phone number, address, company name, fax number, email and URL, after hours phone number, etc
  • Indicate hours available at the listed numbers

Part 4 - Summary Sentence/Abstract

  • Use italic font
  • Start with "CITY, STATE (Dateline) - " to place the story and define the relevant release area
  • Interesting summary sentence before the body
  • 2nd chance to capture audience

Part 5 - Main Body/Content

  • Your Target audience: (i) editors/reporters who read the releases and (ii) their ultimate core readers
  • Attempt to customize the release style for publication type: local paper (general) vs. trade journal (academic)
  • Write a benefits-oriented story that will be of interest to the target audience and keep their interest
  • Tell audience why the information should interest them, what problems you solve for the readers
  • Answer the 5W's (Who, What, Where, When, Why & How?) in the first paragraph.
  • Provide remaining details in subsequent paragraphs in descending order of importance
  • Use Small, simple paragraphs (2-3 sentences) for easiest reading
  • Add a quotation from you or reader testimonial to break up the release and make for easy reading
  • Subliminally inject a very short Organizational Summary (i.e. years in existence) if possible
  • Keep the same message
  • Use a non-sell approach
  • Back up claims with concise and truthful facts and statistics
  • Direct the reader to the specific page on your website where more information can be found
  • Use active verbs; avoid passive voice
  • Avoid excessive adjectives

Part 6 - Formal Ending

  • Place ### at the end

Part 7 - Editor's Note after Ending

  • Include brief information (i.e. interviews available upon request) exclusively for editors and not for publication


  • Consider sending out a larger Press Release Kit with a Letter, Press Release(s), Business Fact Sheet, Biography, Samples, Photos, etc., Organizational Literature, Business Card


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