Spread The Word. Press and Publicity for Your Social Issue!

Have you ever wondered what a press release is? A press release is like an official announcement that organisations use to share the news with the media and the public. It's a way for companies, teams, communities and even individuals to let everyone know about something important, like a new product, an event, or an achievement. Press releases are carefully crafted to catch the attention of journalists and make them interested in covering the story. They contain key information, quotes, and contact details, making it easier for reporters to gather all the facts they need. Your YSI project deserves media attention, a well-written press release can help spread the word and get people excited!

How to Send a Press Release

A press release should always be sent by email to the publication’s editor. You can also send it directly to a particular journalist if they are known to you or if you feel they would be interested in your story.

The Subject Line of your email should highlight that it is a press release, and it should include the headline of your release. Paste your press release text directly into the email. Do not attach it as a Word document as most journalists/editors will not open it. You also do not need to write a personal message to the editor. They want the information straight up and fast.

If you are sending images to accompany your release to a local paper, it is ok to add these as attachments. One or two is plenty. Be sure to have included photo captions in your release text so that the journalist/editor knows who is who. Larger papers may have a dedicated picture editor, in which case, the photos should be sent directly to them.

It is OK to call the paper to ask if your release was received. Remember, just because you send a press release, your story is not guaranteed to be featured. That said, the better the quality of your release and the accompanying image, the more chance you have of getting your story covered! 

8 Steps for Your Press Release 

Your press release should be as concise as possible while also providing the journalist or editor with all the important information they need.

A press release is typically constructed in the following way:

1.The Headline
Catchy, localised and to the point.

2.The First Paragraph
Needs to generate immediate interest and sum up in 2-3 sentences the full story that further paragraphs will elaborate on.

3. Further Paragraphs
Provide all the interesting, relevant information that readers should know about the story.

It is good to provide a quote, where possible, from someone involved, e.g. a student, someone impacted, or someone well-known supporting your project.

5. Closing Paragraphs
Any additional detail you feel is relevant.

6. End
Always mark the end of the release with -ends- so the journalist /editor knows where the story stops.

7. Contact for Further Information
Provide contact details for a representative that a journalist can get in touch with for additional information.

8. Notes to the Editor
If you are sending images, you might include your image captions here. Include information that the journalist/editor might like to know but is not central to the story. This section is not necessary, so don’t add it if it is not needed.

Check out the sample release on the following page. You can fill in the blanks with your project information or use the guidelines above and the Key Messages template to create your own!