Free Press Release Template and Worksheet
Download these press release templates, which include a formatting template plus a helpful information gathering worksheet for your next press release.
- Free press release template. Use this template as a guideline for laying out your press release. (2-page .doc)
- Free press release information gathering worksheet. Use this form to help you gather the necessary information for your press release. Simply type in the information in each box (the box will expand as you add more text. (1-page .doc)
CHECKLIST: 3 Press Release Must-Have’s
To make sure that your press release isn’t immediately tossed into the editor’s waste basket, follow this simple checklist. You’ll avoid three of the most common errors, and greatly increase your chances of getting media coverage.
- Is your press release written for journalists (i.e, editors at newspapers, magazines or other media outlets)? If you’ve written it for the end user (that is, your customer), this is a big mistake. While the topic of your release must be of interest to the editor’s publication readership, you must write the release to catch the editor’s eye.
- Is your press release newsworthy? Press releases should not be promotional. Instead, they should highlight a news item that a journalist would find worthy to make mention of in a story or article. And ideally the news item should be mentioned in the headline and the lead paragraph.
- Are you tailoring the writing of your release and sending the press release to a targeted list of journalists? If the objective of your press release is to get published or mentioned in a media outlet read or seen by your customers, make sure your media contact list is targeted. That is, if you offer bookkeeping services, your list probably shouldn’t include media contacts for teen fashion magazines.
Does Your Press Release Pass the “News” Test?
The newsworthiness of your press release is perhaps the number one factor that will determine whether or not you’ll get the attention of an editor or broadcast producer for media coverage. Here’s a simple test to find out whether you have news to share.
Below is a list of words that appear in press releases that commonly get media coverage. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but it can help you determine whether your press release idea is truly news or not.
You should be able to integrate at least one of these words into the story you want to tell the media. If you can’t you should either think of another idea, or figure out how to make your idea more newsworthy.
Can you apply any of these words to your press release?
first/first ever (first in doing something, first in a location/industry)
results (survey or other data)
win/won (such as an award, contest)
36 Reasons to Issue a Press Release
Stumped for legitimate and newsworthy reasons to issue a press release? Here are 36 quick ideas to get you started.
- A major milestone in your company (such as your 1,000th customer)
- Appointment to a respected board or committee
- Approved, recommended, or endorsed by a major partner, government agency or other player in your market.
- Articles recently published by or about you
- Books or other publications you are mentioned in
- Books you have written (in-print, ebook, etc.)
- Company anniversary
- Company, service, or an employee has received an award
- Contributions to charities (time or money)
- Employee retires after a long career with your company
- Expanded or more convenient business hours
- Free classes, seminar you are presenting
- Free demonstration of your service
- Free information available from your website
- Free tip sheet, booklet, CD or other information product
- Free trial of your service
- Holding an anniversary (1st, 5th, 20th, etc. year of being in business)
- Holiday or seasonal-themed tie-ins or promotions
- Launched a new service or a new feature to an exisiting service
- Major new customer or contract
- Name change or new address
- New customer service features (new 1-800 line, new function on website, etc.)
- Newly hired employee with significant expertise or community recognition
- Open a second location or add other extra convenience for customers to get a hold of you, use your service, etc.
- Open house
- Radio or TV show appearances
- Recent accomplishments by you, and employee or your company
- Results of poll or survey that you’ve taken
- Results of research
- Speak at a major event on behalf of the company
- Special sales promotion for customers (such as a discount, special service package, or contest).
- Sponsor a major event
- Trade show, conference you’re exhibiting at
- Upgrade to the latest equipment or are now applying the newest technique
- White paper or special report offer
- Webinar, webcast or teleseminar that you are presenting
Where to Distribute Press Releases for Free (or For a Small Fee)
Are you looking for Internet sites where you can distribute a press release for free (or for a small fee)? We’ve hunted around and found a few.
A couple of tips before you use any of these services.
1. Be sure to carefully look at their terms of service. Know what information will be published, and where it will go.
2. Consider that blasting a release to a gazillion free press release distribution services is not really a solid publicity strategy to get free press. But it can be a way to generate incoming links to your website (which most search engines, like Google, like to see). Just make sure not to over do it, or have to high of expectations of some of these services.
Places to distribute your press releases: