How to Write a Press Release

Press releases are a tool for keeping your community informed about activities, special events and operational changes occurring at the library. Unfortunately, many press releases end up in the editor's wastebasket because the information isn't presented in a compelling manner or is incomplete.


Be accurate with all dates, names and places.

Include the most important details in the first paragraph (called the lead). Try to capture the reader's interest and include the most important elements of who, what, when, where, why and how. (Some of these can be addressed in the second paragraph.)

Include all details and information in DESCENDING order of importance. If space is short, the editor will cut the release copy from the bottom up.

Be sure to attribute statements, announcements and claims to some relevant person. For example, Mary Smith, Main City library director, announced that the group's annual event would be... Or, "Everyone's invited," Smith said.

Identify all people mentioned in the press release, either by title or relationship to the subject of the release. For instance, Sally Jones, professor, department of engineering, MSU. Or, Jane Doe, library spokesperson.

In most cases, keep the press release short. One page is sufficient for most announcements. Try to avoid ever going over two pages.


Use short sentences and simple words.

Double-space the copy and never send a press release that isn't typed.

Include a release date or the words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE at the top of the first page.

Include a contact with a name and phone number at the top.

Put (MORE) at the bottom of the first page if the article continues to a second page.

At the top of the second page, put one or two key words and the page number. For example: CHILDREN'S HOUR - Add 1 (or Page 2).

Put # # # or - 30 - at the end of the story.