How to Write an Effective Press Release

January 5, 2017

Heyun Jeong
Heyun Jeong

What is a Press Release?

A press release can be defined as a written statement issued to external news sources, providing information on a particular matter, announcement, or event. Press releases are most commonly found on newspapers or websites – typically where a general audience would look to keep up to date on what is occurring in their local or immediate area. Additionally, some news sources actually refer to a company’s official press release to confirm announcements or special information shared by a corporation. For example, when a company’s CEO steps down from his/her position and a lead executive position is being replaced, the company will usually announce this at a press conference, followed by an official press release.

Press releases stand out from other “breaking news” articles on the internet because they are seen and trusted as the primary and most accurate source of facts on a particular announcement. Therefore, the nature of a press release has to be extremely straightforward and accurate, showing no bias, uncertainty, or praise of any sort.


How Should It Be Utilized For Circle K?

A press release is generally only written to announce or highlight a large event or accomplishment, and it must have some relevance to the general public. Yes, while writing a document on why your club president did such an amazing job in his/her role is great, that information serves no purpose for the general interest of the school or local community, and it does not need to be shared. On the other hand, writing a press release about how your Circle K club helped fund over $500 for the local animal shelter in one single weekend could very well be of interest to your local community. This not only publicizes your club’s accomplished efforts within the community, but it also helps the a general audience understand who Circle K is as an organization, what our mission stands for, and how others can take part and be involved similarly.

Issuing press releases for your club or division is the most professional way to publicize all the good Circle K does for the community, and it informs the general public of our organization and its many contributions and efforts.


Characteristics of a Great Press Release

  •         Relatively short: no more than 1.5 pages total, including the ending boilerplate (explained below)
  •         Usually single spaced – because it has to be concise and short
  •         Must include organization or company logo at the top of the page
  •         Includes contact information of who wrote the release (usually an organization’s Head of Public Relations or External Communications)
  •         Large and catchy headline to draw people in to read the release
  •         Must list city, state, and date of where the announcement occurs – think of it like news!
  •         Introductory paragraph should be short and list out: Who, What, When, Where
  •         Most press releases will contain at least one relevant quote from a lead official
  •         Contains no bias or “fluff”- no words like “exciting”, “outstanding”, or “incredible” to describe an event – the press release is straightforward and to the point: you are listing out the facts and announcing the news.
  •         Should often contain an ending boilerplate, or a small paragraph at the end explaining what your organization is, does, and stands for
  •         Should contain additional information (usually website), should anyone have any questions about the organization or is interested in learning more


Check out a template here!

By Cherie Leung, Communications Chair 2015-2016 District Public Relations Committee

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