It is important to conform to a clear structure when writing a press release as journalists spend an average of three seconds deciding whether a press release is worth reading, therefore it is crucial that all of the key information is presented at the beginning of the piece to hook them in.
When writing a press release, it is good practice to follow the 'Inverted Pyramid' model shown in the following diagram. Journalists may wish to cut a story after any section as, unfortunately, the length of coverage is often determined by available page space as opposed to the relevance of the story, making it imperative that all of the important information is presented at the beginning to ensure that it isn't cut.
- The introductory paragraph should contain the key information you wish to share, answering the five Ws (who, what, where, when and why).
- Next, the subsequent paragraph should contain any additional information to support the introduction, expanding on the information provided.
- Follow this with a quotation from the academic leading the research/delivering the lecture/organising the event to add some credibility to the story and making it more personable.
- Then provide more detail to explain the content of the quotation.
- An additional quote can be included to expand further on the themes and ideas previously mentioned.
- Conclude the press release with an additional comment detailing any information that has been omitted or summarising what has already been presented (this is especially crucial for events), forming the lasting impression of the release.
- Depending on the relevance to the content, it is sometimes appropriate to include an optional bio in the Notes to Editors section listing academic background, current position and research interests.