How do I write a Press Release?

Bringing the Press Release Out of Retirement

press release



You may have thought that along with the invention of the computer and the oust of the typewriter, that press releases were obsolete. That picking up the phone and talking to an actual reporter didn’t happen anymore, only in Superman movies. You may not even realize that newspapers are still actually printed on paper as well as on the web.  SHOCKING…I know. That’s why the press release isn’t dead…it was just in retirement. Writing a compelling press release is still a very viable way to get your information out to the masses and HOPEFULLY picked up by other news outlets. When you’re trying to promote your fundraising campaign, don’t leave out the press release.

Let’s start from the top.

What the heck is a press release?  Well, I’m not going to quote Wikipedia for you, but I can tell you in simple terms that a press release is the release of some news worthy event. Do you think your fundraising campaign is important? Me too…and others will also.  That’s why writing a press release is so important. You now have a venue to share your story and your campaign.

Who exactly am I sending this press release to? Well, that just depends.  How many people do YOU want to know about your campaign.  You have to put in a little bit of work to get your press release “out there”.  First, start with your local community.  Use the internet and research a little. You’ll want to focus on finding the newspapers and radio stations in your city.  You may even find email address or twitter profiles to contact these reporters directly (which I suggest you totally do).  Introduce yourself, tell them a little about your campaign, and then send them your amazing press release.

They don’t have to write about it…but, WHAT IF THEY DID? It would be SO awesome…right? Be prepared for a follow-up email or phone call. They may even want to meet you in person.  Are you OK with that? If not, ask a family member or friend to speak on your behalf for any reporters.

Bloggers.  I’ve talked before about getting bloggers to write about you, and this is no different. I’m just reminding you that bloggers have a tremendous influence on the market today and you’d be remiss if you didn’t try to get a few to write about your campaign. Don’t try to contact the Heavy Hitters! Start with any bloggers that you may already comment on and have a relationship with.  Those will be your first choices. Even if they talk about decorating and you’re starting a campaign to feed the homeless.  Bloggers are writers and can tie it all together. Giving them a copy of your press release makes writing an article that much easier.

How exactly do I write a press release? Just put on your ruby slippers and tap them three times and say, “I need a press release, I need a press release, I need a press release”.  If that doesn’t work, just keep reading.

You’re just telling your fundraising story…don’t stress about it.  We’ve provided a FREE TEMPLATE that will guide you along the way.  Here’s the information that you’ll need handy to write it in one swoop:

  • Title–your press release needs a catchy title.  Nothing vulgar or misleading, but a title that will make people want to read more.
  • Lead Paragraph–Grab the readers attention by telling them “who, what, where, when, and why”. Share all your critical information in the first paragraph.  Don’t make it too long. Just the NEED to KNOW information in the first paragraph.
  • Body–Tell your story.  Use quotes from relevant people related to the campaign. Tell us in detail what the campaign is for, why you’re doing it, when an event happened, where you’re located, and who is it that needs help.
  • Pictures. Did you know that you can include pictures and even videos in your press releases (for those that will be published on a website). Pick a clear picture, that tells what the campaign is about.
  • Concluding paragraph–Wrap it up in a nice bow.  Restate and summarize your key points.
  • Final Paragraph–Use the pre-typed paragraph that explains who “Move Your Mountain” is and include a link directly to your campaign page.

Get Feedback.  Use your Mentor as a second pair of eyes to go over your press release.  Ask friends and family to contribute and give feedback.  You don’t want any spelling errors or grammatical errors.

Press SEND. You got it all together, now send it out! Email those contacts you researched earlier.  Tweet it to the journalists that are locally to you.  Post it on your Facebook wall…post it on different news media Facebook pages.

Follow Up. Email, tweet, and message anyone that you sent a press release to that you haven’t gotten a response from.  Walk the line…don’t be obsessive about it, but do follow up.  There isn’t a “set in stone” timeline to follow up.  I’d wait a week and then follow up with an email. Confirm that they did indeed get your press release and let them know that you’ll be available for any follow up questions that they may have.

Don’t worry.  B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

You used the template and guidelines to create an awesome press release to talk about your AMAZING campaign. You rock!  Now, go and tell everyone!

Click FREEPressReleaseTemplate to download your free template.

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