The most important thing to remember when writing press releases is that reporters and editors get hundreds of them and have to make decisions about which ones to use. It pays to keep it simple and to the point.
Press Release Must-Haves
Here are five pointers that apply to every press release you write:
Stick to Who, What, When, Where, How. That's what reporters want to know. Use that old formula and you'll never go wrong.
Get attention with a good headline. Your headline probably won't get used, but it should be calculated to get the reporter's attention. You can do that by making it funny or catchy (reporters get bored too). Be sure to make it clear right away why the information is of interest to the community.
Include important details but leave out the rest. If the reporter decides to do a full-blown story, she or he can call you for more information.
Always include a short paragraph about your organization.
Always include contact information for the person in your organization charged with talking to the media.
Achieving Your Goal
Remember that your objective in sending out press releases is for media outlets to incorporate the information in their publication or broadcast - or even better, to follow up with you to produce a story featuring your agency.
The simpler, clearer, and easier you can make your press releases to read, the more likely it is that they'll be picked up.
You can read a sample press release from the ASPCA to see how sticking to the essentials makes an informative, readable press release.