If you’re running for elected office, you’re going to need to write and send press releases.
The concept sounds more daunting than it actually is, so don’t get intimidated.
When I first started out in politics I didn’t have a clue about how to write a press release.
I was shown how to do it once and have never looked back.
The following article will explain to you the basics of a political campaign press release.
The top of the press release should make it clear that the document is a press release.
The majority of people sending press releases use the terminology of “Media Alert,” “Media Advisory,” or “Media Release.”
The choice of words is yours, but all the same, it looks like this on the top of the page:
***MEDIA ALERT ***
On the left-hand side you state when the announcement you are sending should go public.
For local campaigns, you want the information out as quickly as possible, there’s no need to embargo it
Put that this information is for “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” with the same date you send the press release.
The upper left column should look like this:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Month, Date, Year
On the right-hand side of the page, list the person the media should contact with an followup questions.
The first line should read: Contact: First Name Last Name
The line under it should include the phone number (with area code) of the contact.
An email address is also acceptable, as is listing both a phone number and an email address of the contact.
You always want to make it as easy is possible for the press to get in touch with you.
The upper right column should look like this:
CONTACT: First and Last Name
(xxx)xxx-xxxx / [email protected]
Write a large, centered headline that states exactly what is in the press release and why the recipient should care.
Don’t beat around the bush and don’t be cute.
If a matter deserves a press release then say what’s in the press release.
You can also include a sub-headline below your main headline that provides slightly more detail on the topic of your press release.
An example of how this might look is as follows:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt Announces Re-Election Bid
PRESIDENT SEEKING 4TH TERM, IS COMMITTED TO VICTORY OVER AXIS POWERS
Before the body of your press release, the first paragraph needs to state the geographic location it is coming from, specifically the city and the state.
If it was for FDR’s third re-election announcement, it would look like this:
WASHINGTON, D.C. —-
After the location information, start the first sentence of your press release immediately after the three dashes.
Your first paragraph should be a synopsis of your entire press release.
Don’t bury the lede as they say in the news business.
If someone only reads the headline and the first paragraph, they should be able to get the essence of your press release.
This is the body of your press release.
The body contains the important information you want to convey to the media and the public.
It all goes here and can include statements, policy positions, and quotes.
The body is broken into paragraphs — and each paragraph needs to support and enhance the information in the paragraph preceding it.
The paragraphs should not be too many sentences or giant blocks of text.
Do not indent the paragraphs. However, you should put an extra space between paragraphs.
All of the paragraphs should line up on the left margin and not a single one of them should be indented.
Always conclude your press release with positive information about yourself.
Remind the reader who you are, what you’re running for, and why you’re running.
You can also list some prominent endorsements if that is germane to the content of your press release.
If the press release is about a new endorsement you picked up, you definitely should list other key endorsements you already have announced.
End your press release with three-number signs, now commonly known as a hashtag (#), centered at the bottom of your release.
If your press release is more than a page (hopefully it won’t be) then put -MORE- or -CONTINUED- centered at the bottom.
Regardless if your press release is one page, two pages, or heaven help us three page, always end your press release with three centered number signs/pound signs/hashtags, like so:
Now you have the fundamentals of how to write and format a press release.
But…..if you’d like to go further and have a deeper understanding of writing press releases and how to use them effectively for your campaign then I invite you to enroll in this Micro Course.
In Writing Winning Press Releases you’ll learn:
- The purposes of press releases
- When to send press releases (and when not to)
- The types of press releases
- How to write a press release
- Where to send your press release (and where to share it)
You’ll also receive a Press Release Check List plus samples and templates of popular press releases to help you create your own.