Drafting a Press Release

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Description
Learn the process of drafting and sending a press release as well as writing an engaging “hook” for your local group’s press releases.
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/topics/writing-for-print-media
Related Trainings
Drafting a Press Release is part of the Writing for Print Media series.
TOC and Guide Section
 
When to send?

Whenever your group has something newsworthy to share with local media, a press release is a good way to start the ball rolling and entice news outlets to do a story about your CCL chapter. 

Having your local group endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act legislation and sending volunteers to Washington for a Lobby Day present great opportunities for sending out a press release.

Who to send it to?
  1. CCL provides downloadable lists of local media contacts. These are organized by chapter and can give you an idea of where to send your press release.
  2. Go to the news page, print or online, and see if there are instructions for submitting a press release. Most newspapers don’t like to receive attachments, so it’s best to send your piece in the body of your email.
  3. You’ll want to put a note at the top introducing yourself and making a brief pitch about why the newspaper should publish a press release based on the information you’re submitting.
  4. If there are no instructions, identify the news editor and send it to them.
Finding a Hook

You’ll get more stories published about your chapter activities and volunteers if you follow three simple elements in identifying a compelling sentence (a “hook” in media speak) to highlight your story and get your reporter’s attention. 

What makes a good hook? 

  • Unique - what’s unique about your group’s story? Do you have many local conservatives or business owners? What are the unique element(s) of your chapter as a whole? What events have you hosted? Do you have politically engaged young people? You can also highlight the impacts of climate already affecting your community.
  • Specific - Make sure your hook is specific. Craft one that includes engaging details and make sure it’s not vague (i.e. “Jane’s daughter has asthma, so she’s lobbying Rep. ___  to fight climate change and clean up our air” or “After gathering 500 letters to Rep. __ about climate change, three local voters will meet with __ in D.C. on June 12."
  • Revealing - Put the good information in the first part of the release. Don’t make the reporter scan or work too hard to find what’s compelling.

CCL’s email templates will provide these elements in customizable sections. 

Sample CCL email pitches

Several times a year CCL’s Communications team creates local press release templates for CCL volunteers to pitch to local newspapers in the hope that they’ll issue a press release.

Following up

If you haven't heard back after a week, make a follow-up call or email with polite persistence to check in and see what might be possible. Each station follows their own guidelines and criteria for the press releases they publish.

Length
Press play to start the video (8m 18s)
https://vimeo.com/album/5477733
Video Outline
Drafting & Sending A Press Release
3m 26s
Identifying a Hook for your Local Press Release
4 m 52s
Instructor(s)

Flannery Winchester

Go Deeper

Need some inspiration getting started with writing your press release?

The Print Media Action Team can help answer your press release questions.

For help with media lists, contact Communications Coordinator Flannery Winchester.

Discussion Topic
To Print
Instructions for printing this page on Community.
Category
Training
Topics
Using Media
Format
Audio / Video
Training Resources

Press Release Templates

The resources above are specific to this training, see all resources associated with Writing for Print Media.