Press Release Format

Press Release Guidelines:

Right:  Royal Theatre to present 'Oliver'
Wrong: ROYAL THEATRE TO PRESENT "OLIVER"

1 Write the headline. It should be brief, clear and to the point: an ultra-compact version of the press release’s key point.

Headlines written in bold! They are also typically use a larger font size than the body copy. Conventional press release headlines are present tense and exclude "a" and "the" as well as forms of the verb "to be" in certain contexts.
First word capitalized. As are all proper nouns. Most headline words appear in lower-case letters, although using a stylized "small caps" font style can create a more graphically news-attractive look and feel. Do not capitalize every word. Show quotes as 'xxxxx'   not "xxxxx"  search engines have a problem with " and &.

Extract important keywords. The simplest method to create the press release headline is to extract the most important keywords from your press release. From these keywords, try to frame a logical and attention-getting statement. Using keywords will give you better visibility in search engines, and it will be simpler for journalists and readers to get the idea of the press release content. Look at the actions in this first step, and notice how every one of them could be a press release headline.

2 Write the body copy. The press release should be written as you want it to appear in a news story. And remember this: most journalists are very busy, and don't have time to research your company's big announcement, so much of what you write for your press release will be what the journalists use in their writeup. Whatever you want them to say, this is where you put it.
The lead, or first sentence, should grab the reader and say concisely what is happening. For example, if the headline is "Blue Bell Theatre to do 'Sound of Music', the first sentence might be something like, "Blue Bell Theatre today completed casting the "Sound of Music." It expands the headline enough to fill in some of the details, and brings the reader further into the story. The next 1-2 sentences then expand upon the lead. Use quotes for all play titles.

The press release body copy should be compact. Avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs. Avoid repetition and over use of fancy language and jargon. Strive for simplicity, and no wasted words. Remember it is an information/news piece...it should not read as an ad. Avoid adjectives and statements such as "Blue Bell and its Artistic Director are proud to present."

The first paragraph (two to three sentences) should sum up the press release, and the additional content must elaborate it. In a fast-paced world, neither journalists nor other readers would read the entire press release if the start of the article didn't generate interest.

Deal with actual facts - events, cast, playwright, plans, projects, etc. Try to provide maximum use of concrete facts. A simple method for writing an effective press release is to make a list of the following things: Who, what, when, where, why, and how.

3 Communicate the 5 Ws (and the H) clearly. Who, what, when, where, why, and how should tell the reader everything they need to know. Consider the checklist in context with the points below, using the example above to generate our press release:

With the basics defined, fill in the gaps with information about the people, dates and other things related with the news.

If your theatre is not the main subject of the news, but is the source of the press release, make it clear in the body.

Keep it short and too the point. The length of a press release should be no more than two pages (one preferred). Sending via e-mail...text within the message. Do not send in Word or any other similar format. jpeg or any other photo format presents editing problems for the writer.

The more newsworthy you make the press release copy, the better the chances of it being selected by a journalist for reporting. Find out what "newsworthy" means to a given market and use it to hook the editor. Remember that your copy will be edited to fit the writer's requirements.

4 Include information about the theatre company.

When a writer picks up your press release for a story, he or she would logically have to mention the company in the news article. Writers can then get the company information from this section.
The title for this section should be—About XYZ_ Theatre Company

After the title, use a paragraph or two to describe your company with 5 or 6 lines each. The text must describe your company,

At the end of this section, point to your website. The link should be the exact and complete URL without any embedding so that, even if this page is printed, the link will be printed as it is. For example: http://www.your_company_website.com, not Click here to visit the website.

Companies which maintain a separate media page on their websites must point to that URL here. A media page typically has contact information and press kits.

5 Tie it together. Provide some extra information links that support your press release.

6 Photos should be attached in jpeg format with identification of content (place, names of people, etc) Provide source or photographer's name. NJFootlights.net can accept any size, however many pubs/ blogs require 512 kb or smaller. Writers do not want to have to resize and crop photos. "Photos on request" simply delays the writer and many times will result in no photo, or photos being used with your submission.

7 Add contact information.

If your press release is really newsworthy, journalists would surely like more information or would like to interview key people associated with it.

If you are comfortable with the idea of letting your key people be contacted directly by media, you can provide their contact details on the press release page itself.

Otherwise, you must provide the details of your media/PR department in the "Contact" section. If you do not have dedicated team for this function, you must appoint somebody who will act as a link between the media and your people.

The contact details must be limited and specific only to the current press release. The contact details must include:

The Company's Official Name
Media Contact Person
Address
Telephone number.
Timings of availability
Email Addresses
Website Address

8 Signal the end of the press release with three # symbols, centered directly underneath the last line of the release. This is a journalistic standard.


LASTLY: UNDERSTAND THAT THE WRITER WILL EDIT, REWRITE, REARRANGE AND/OR DELETE AS NEEDED TO MEET THE WRITER'S REQUIREMENTS. NO RELEASE IS USED "AS SUBMITTED." SPONSOR INFORMATION IS USUALLY DELETED TO AVOID ARTICLE APPEARING TO BE AN ADVERTISEMENT.

Our address is rbusciglio@gmail.com


F.Y.I.....Here as an example of a proper press release that follows AP guidelines...Most press and blog writers are required to publish in this manner. When the release fails to follow these guidelines the 'reporter' must correct or discard. 

Paper Mill announces cast members for 'Lend Me a Tenor'     (NOT ALL CAPS) 

The Paper Mill Playhouse has announced the cast for its winter comedy, Ken Ludwig's "Lend Me a Tenor."
This comedy will feature several Broadway stars and Paper Mill Playhouse favorites. It will run at Paper Mill Playhouse, from Wednesday, Feb. 13, through Sunday, March 10.  (not THRU)
"Lend Me a Tenor" has been nominated for nine Tony Awards, and is the winner of three Drama Desk Awards and the Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the Year.
The renowned tenor "Il Stupendo" is scheduled to sing the lead in the opera "Othello." Chaos ensues when his wife mistakenly leaves him a "Dear John" letter and the distraught singer is accidentally given a double dose of tranquilizers.

"Lend Me a Tenor" will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Its performance schedule is as follows: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 1:30 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:30 and 7 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now and range from $26 to $97. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40 percent discount on tickets and should call 973-315-1680.

Headline; Not all caps

Titles in headline; 'Lend Me a Tenor' single quote mark

Titles in body;  "Lend Me a Tenor"     double quote marks

Times;   2 p.m.    not  2pm

               7 p.m.   not 7:00pm 

and not &
Include Theatre address info in the body of release

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