Writing a press release

Writing a press release

Before you begin to write a press release, think of the intended audience. Ask yourself who you are writing for and plan to write something in a style appropriate to that audience.

The ingredients of a 'good' news story

  • The essential element of a story is that it's new
  • People tend to like to read about unusual events
  • Try to keep it free from strong personal opinion
  • A news story should be concise
  • Include a quote, this often helps bring a news piece to life.

What makes a story interesting?

  • Impact or broad appeal: events that affect many people - the more people, the better the story. For instance, a proposed income tax increase may, at first sight, seem boring; but it has impact, because it will affect many people.
  • Timeliness: news gets out of date quickly. One news outlet, such as the BBC news channel may regard news as being long past if it's a few days after the event, another news outlet such as a parish magazine may not regard news as being old even if it happened weeks in the past.
  • Prominence: stories involving well known places, companies, groups or people will tend to do better.
  • Proximity or closeness to home: events occurring in the newspaper circulation area or the broadcast area are likely to be of most interest.
  • Bizarre or out-of-the-ordinary: unusual events that don't happen every day will generally be more interesting to the readers.
  • The current "flavour of the month": events and situations that are currently in the news will harness more support. So, if your church is supporting a national event that's already in the news, your press release is likely to be picked-up by the press in a way other stories might not be.
  • Human interest: people are interested in people, so personalise your story.
  • Local press and radio will more readily pick-up news of events, appointments, fundraising appeals and anniversaries - and stories with a community focus
  • Above all, stories should be accurate and truthful!

Be cautious using strong opinion

Be careful with "conflict" stories. A journalist may be hungry for sensationalism and could present a strong view quite negatively, so be mindful of this when speaking out strongly on a subject.


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Page last updated: 21st August 2019 2:16 PM
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Ely Diocesan Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 142183, and a charity registered in England and Wales with Charity Number 245456. The registered address is: Diocesan Office, Bishop Woodford House, Barton Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4DX. All rights reserved.