A press release is one of the best techniques for publicizing an event or calling attention to an issue.
A well-written, well-distributed and well-timed press release is not difficult or expensive to produce, yet can be
effective and useful for waging peace. The key to writing an effective press release is getting it read and the
information published. With these objectives in mind, the most important elements of the press-release are a clear and engaging text,
careful selection of recipients, and good timing of release. See the guidelines below before writing your press release.
Correct formatting is important
because it conveys the necessary information in
a readable, accessible and professional manner.
Basic formatting should include a simple and easily
recognizable format, and a clear presentation. The following is a checklist for standard press release format.
Standard title: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
for example: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation PMB
121, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1, Santa
Barbara, CA 93108-2794 Contact: Jane Advocate,
(805) 965-3443, email@example.com
Subject title should
be succinct and informative, conveying the topic
matter while intriguing the reader.
present the most important information, including who,
what, where, when and why, in the first
sentences of the releases body, emphasizing
why the event is newsworthy. Follow with supporting
background information and details. Some suggest
a quote from an involved activist to add credibility
and depth to the release.
offer who is representing this message. For example what
does your foundation or company stand for? The last part
of the Press Release should include your contact information,
for example: For further information about the
Waging Peace campaign, visit the Nuclear Age
Peace Foundation's website at www.wagingpeace.org or call (805)-965-3443
End the release with a ### sign to indicate the end of the document
Always remember to:
Use black ink.
Use white paper.
Proofread for grammar and spelling.
Keep the press release to under one page.
Press release writing should be
easy to read and engaging. It should also remain
reportorial, and not opinionated. In order to
make the release readable for the recipient
and even publishable, a journalistic style of
clear, direct and concise statements is most
effective. An engaging style makes the news
clear in the beginning, followed by some supporting
details, and leaves the reader's interest piqued
to learn more about the event, the organization,
or the topic. Finally, a good release focuses
on the human interest of the story without passing
judgments or making opinions.
Distributing the press release
to the right reporters, editors and broadcasters
is the next important step. The target audience
and the appropriateness of the media are the most
important considerations in determining the target
media. Radio stations, television, weeklies, and
dailies all carry local news. The internet is
another resource, for posting on a website, a
discussion board, or an internet publishing company.
After the selection of media outlets has been
narrowed to those your audience might be exposed
to, research who at those outlets is likely to
read and cover your story. Some guidelines:
Send releases to the reporter(s)
most likely to use the information.
Ask for recipients' preferred method
of delivery, but when in doubt, use mail by post.
Refrain from sending mass emails, instead directly
addressing them to the recipient.
Timing the press release for optimal
effectiveness is the final step. Timing should
consider both the media reporters and the target
audience. Find out from the media source or preferably
your chosen recipient what their cutoff time is,
but some general timing considerations follow:
Radio cutoff is generally
up to an hour before "drive time."
Television cutoff is generally up to 2 hours
Weeklies' cutoff is generally
up to 2 days prior to printing.
Dailies' cutoff is generally up
to three hours prior to printing, but stories
are generated between 48 and 24 hours to publication.
Monthlies generally plan two or more months in
For feature length attention, considerably more
time is needed for a story to be developed.
Publications usually cater to people's desire
to hear good news in the morning and the beginning
of the week, placing bad news at the end of the
day or week.
If the timing does not work the first time, resend
the release as a "re-release."