Press release

$0 to $1k
estimated cost of external help
  • Communicate effectively
  • Share
0-2 weeks
estimated run time
0-2 weeks
estimated lead time
Strong communicator
recommended experience
A summary of the key information you want to distribute, written in a way that makes it easy for the media to reformat your content into articles or news segments. In this way, the media can widely spread information about your new policy or service in a short space of time. Press releases are typically used when you have something to announce, or an event you would like to encourage participation in but which isn’t high-profile enough to warrant a media event. If your project is high-profile, a press release is often used in conjunction with a media event to ensure consistent messaging, particularly in regards to those news sources that cannot or do not attend your media event.

In 5 steps...

  1. Determine your key messages and who will be interested in them. What do you want people to do when they read your information? Ready any supporting material, such as a website or event page, before you send out your release.
  2. Distribute your release to the appropriate media contacts. Select those that are the most used by your intended audience, which may include local newspapers or even Facebook page administrators. Reformat the release and also share it through your social media if it makes sense to do so.
  3. Be ready to answer a range of questions on the topic. Determine how you will handle any conflict that might arise on social media. Provide a means by which people can learn more about the content.
  4. Monitor social media to gauge the reaction, recording anything important to your process.
  5. Respond to questions or comments in a timely and courteous fashion.

When to use it

A press release is helpful in quickly distributing information to media outlets. It contains your messaging in your desired format, increasing the likelihood that these will reach the public as intended. If picked up and published in the media, they can reach a large segment of your audience with limited effort and cost.


  • Quickly reach a broad audience.
  • Increased visibility.
Long term
  • Reduced conflict when new changes take effect.


  • If what is said is not carefully planned, it might not come across in the way you intend it to. Test your messaging first if possible, or stick to the most conservative and fact-based components of your issue.
  • It’s not always possible to predict the results of a press release. If your project is high-profile or contentious, prepare in advance for any conflict or backlash that might arise. It’s good to pair the announcement with a free-call or 1800 number (see p. XXX), or to put on extra reception/call staff, to deal with questions from the public.


  • Research who is likely to be interested and what questions they might have, and prepare material accordingly.
  • First test your content with representatives of the intended audience to ensure you are hitting the mark.
  • Hire interpreters and distribute the release in a range of languages, if appropriate for your audience.

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