Press Release Tip 15
Explain why someone won an award
This is the first lesson in Module 3 which shows you how to write press releases for routine news events like awards and promotions.
In many cases, journalists will pluck out only three or four sentences from these releases for newspapers or magazines. But you stand a chance of seeing a bigger story if you mention why the recipient received the award. Many press release writers fail to mention this, and it’s a key piece of information.
Let’s take a look at a sample press release for an award. This one was written by Yvonne Fitzner, president of the High School of Art and Design Alumni Association in New York City, to announce an honorary degree that the school gave to singer Tony Bennett, a high school drop-out.
I like several things about this press release:
- The quote from Tony, instead of a boring quote from one of the school administrators.
- The history about how he got his start as a singing waiter.
- The exact time he is scheduled to appear onstage.
- The call to action telling readers what to do if they want to be placed on the guest list.
I would have followed Associated Press style, however. It should be June 29, not June 29th. And street is abbreviated with used with a numerical address.
Opportunity #15 to write a press release: Death of a major figure in your organization
If a major figure in your organization dies, don’t rely only on the newspaper obituary to tell readers what they need to know. Remember, newspaper readership is declining. Instead, write a press release and be sure to scatter several links throughout the release, leading readers to more in-depth information about the deceased, including perhaps an online press room where people can find a variety of photos.
Also, when writing about the deceased, talk about things that are unique to that person such as their hobbies, pets and where they liked to travel.
Next: How to write about multiple employee awards.