If you’re running for elected office, you’re going to need to write a press release.
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 how to write a press release.
I was shown how to do it once and have never looked back.
This article covers the basics of political campaign press releases.
However, if you’re serious about putting out the best press releases, then I recommend this online 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.
Now let’s get into the basics of campaign press releases:
The top of the press release should make it clear that it 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 want to put when the announcement you are sending should be allowed to go public.
For local campaigns, you want the information out as quickly as possible, so you want to set it “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” with the same date you send it.
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 for any followup questions or comments.
The first line should read: Contact: PERSON’S NAME.
The line under it should include the phone number (with area code) of the contact.
I’ve also seen an email listed for the contact for the phone number.
That is 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 ahold of you.
The upper right column should look like this:
CONTACT: First and Last Name
(xxx)xxx-xxxx / firstname.lastname@example.org
Write a large, centered headline that states exactly what is in the press releases 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.
If it is warranted you can have a sub-headline right below your main headline that gives a little more detail to 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 GERMANY & JAPAN
Before the body of your press release, the first paragraph needs to state the geographic 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. —-
Then you 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 lead as they say in the news reporting 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 information that you want to convey here to the media and the public all goes here.
That can include statements, policy positions, quotes all go here.
The body broken into paragraphs — and each paragraph needs to support and enhance the information in the paragraph that came before it.
The paragraphs should not be too many sentences or giant blocks of text.
Do not indent your 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 close out 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.
End your press release with three-pound 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, you should keep these short and sweet if you can) 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 pound signs/hashtags, like so:
Example of a Political Campaign Press Release
Below is an example press release announcing an endorsement, which is typically the most common use of them on a political campaign.
This example features some fictional characters and a locale you may recognize.
Again, if you’d like to learn more about effectively using press releases on your campaign, ttap this link to get instant access to Writing Winning Press Releases for only $7.
I look forward to seeing you in the course.