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Media Release Toolkit

Marketing and Communications


Getting started

University of Winnipeg communications staff are on hand to develop pitches, news releases, media advisories and other materials intended for media. You can send story leads via the Share your Story submission form. Include a bullet-point summary providing further context on the newsworthiness of the announcement as well as any other newsworthy facts or statistics.

That said, there may be times when you need to write content. The following tips will help you draft an effective press release.

What is the purpose of your media release? Are you promoting a book launch, new program, or upcoming event, or are you hoping to generate media coverage for a research funding announcement, journal publication, award or accomplishment?

What is the best timing to share this story? How does it relate to current events? Is it embargoed?

Do you have any images, such as photos or graphs, that can be included with your story? (High resolution images are preferred)?

Drafting a news release

Download our press release template to  guide your content development.

Headline: Write a short, catchy headline and avoid overly complex words. Headlines are typically under 10 words.

Introductory paragraphs. Make your most important points first. Details should follow in descending order of importance.  Use “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “how” and “why” to form the basis of a well-written story.  The answers to these five questions should appear in the first few paragraphs.

Keep it short and simple. Paragraphs should be as concise as possible – no longer than two or three short sentences. You should avoid complex sentence structures and use short words rather than long ones. Avoid writing releases that are longer than a single page.

Add quotes. Include a quote from yourself or from key spokespeople.

Read it outloud. Your release should be easy to read and the listener should understand it instantly. Avoid jargon, and avoid acronyms or abbreviations. If you stumble over a sentence as you read it outloud, the reader will likely stumble too so rewrite it in simpler language.

Include a call to action. Are there any actions that you hope readers will take after reading your story? (ie: attend your event, fund your project, change behaviour or policy). If appropriate, include a call to action in the last sentence.

Still have questions?

Return to the Faculty Media Resources page, or contact communications@uwinnipeg.ca. University of Winnipeg communications staff can help you develop content and provide advice to help you successfully share your story.