How to Write a Press Release
NB: Modern journalists prefer digital press releases which are difficult to read. So, avoid long sentences, paragraphs and keep it brief.
1) Outline. Before you start writing, write a “who, what, where, when, why” outline and double check enter into your copyedit style sheet your production’s details. On the style sheet you can put the name of the play; names of the writer, director, & actors; dates of performance, times of performances, etc.
2) Compare. After you’ve finished your first draft, compare it against your outline and correct details using the style sheet.
3) Proofread. Always leave 24 hours after you have written the press release before you proofread it and sent it out.
4) A second proof. Always have someone else proofread it. Dual proofing (two people taking turns reading out loud the copy while the other reads silently) is many times more accurate than even skilled proofreaders proofing alone.
5) Be accurate. Always have completely accurate information and don’t give out a phone number or a contact person unless the person is willing to answer questions or give directions.
6) Check the date and day of the week. Always make sure you are looking at the right month on your calendar. Make sure the day of the week matches the date of the month. Put this information on your style sheet because you will be referring to it frequently during your publicity campaign.
7) Key information at the top. The first section should be a block of basic information about the show. This makes it visually easy to see the name of the show, dates, and venue.
The first section should include:
Name of Show
Dates, Days of the Week, & Times
Venue name and address (link to directions & map)
Ticket prices (with link to box office)
Links to Pictures (and other promotional material)
For a press release sent via email:
Use a block format (e.g. bullet points) for easier online reading. Keep it to 3 paragraphs or fewer.
8) Quotes. The end of the last paragraph should always contain something quotable by someone impressive or by someone involved in the event.
9) Attach pictures digitally to your press release or provide links to them. [It saves time and a phone call.]
10) ### . Finish with three # centered at the end.
Tips for Writing a Good Press Release
1) Use your custom style sheets and industry-standard style guides. The Associated Press Stylebook is the standard reference for spellings, capitalizations, hyphens, abbreviations, use of italics, and other conventions for writing for newspapers.
2) Keep it simple. Journalist prefer factual, concise, brief sentences.
3) Be brief, be positive, be specific.
4) Don’t repeat. Say it concisely once.
5) Don’t mention spirituality unless it has a direct connection with your show.
6) Don’t use psychobabble. You’re promoting theater, not therapy.