7 steps to writing a press release

newspaper-stand-350x260Emma Jayne Jones is author of Baby In My Backpack and has been shortlisted for a Travel BiB award. Having worked extensively as a journalist she passes on some great tips on how to write a press release.

We all need a little self promotion sometimes and when you’ve done something great – like being shortlisted for the BiBs! – it’s good to shout about it.

So that’s exactly what I did last week. I sent out a quick press release to my local media, had a call from a reporter, and then this article appeared in The Bedfordshire Sunday Chronicle

As a national journalist and former press officer I have a bit of insider knowledge on how to do this but I’m going to let you into a secret – it’s not that difficult!

Here is my step by step guide on how to write a press release for your local press, get some exposure for your blog and raise the profile of Britmums and the BiB Awards.

Step 1: Get to the point

You may have a great story to tell, but like with blogging, if you don’t get to the point straight away people will switch off. The journalist should be able to gain the key points from your press release in the first paragraph. Answer these questions:

Who and where are you?

What have you done?

Why should people care?

Step 2: Keep it short

A press release is all about quality over quantity. If you can’t persuade a journalist to write about your story in less than one page, you won’t be able to do it in two. So stick to the facts, tell them the best bits and if they want to know more they will give you a call.

Step 3: Add contact details 

This may sound simple but make sure they can get in touch with you. Provide an email address and mobile number and once you have sent it out, be sure to answer your phone!

Step 4: Include a photo

All stories need photos so make it easy for the journalist by sending one along with your press release. Don’t send them a large selection – if they want more they will ask you or send a photographer.

Step 5: Write a strong title

Think about what you would see the headline being in the paper. Include ‘local’ or your home town in the heading and stick to phrases they will understand, so use ‘blog awards’ instead of ‘BiBs’.

Step 6: Do your research

Look up all your local newspapers, lifestyle magazines, village publications and free advertisers. Don’t forget about websites and radio stations too. Then, ideally, find a named person to email your press release to.

Step 7: Send!

Send a short email to each journalist summarising the story and attaching your press release and photo. If you don’t hear back within a few days give them a call and check they received it.

Emma JamesEmma is a travel-obsessed journalist and blogger. She has written for The Guardian, Times and Independent and is author of Gap Years: The Essential Guide. She started a new adventure last year when she became a mum to baby J and now blogs about their travel adventures near and far at Baby In My Backpack. She has visited 50 countries across 6 continents and is looking forward to adding to the list with her little boy.

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1 Comment

  1. 21 May 2014 / 14:08

    Thank you Emma this is a great summary of how to contact the press – in my experience simple is always best as they can come back to you for more information as you say. Thank you for sharing this and congratulations on your media coverage!