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Patient Advocacy Toolkit: Preparing a Press Kit

Always prepare a press kit when meeting journalists or making an important announcement

Press release

  • Be brief: A press release is one page long (at most two pages!) and should contain short sentences and paragraphs. Please find a sample press release here (Word)
  • Use the proper format: At the top of the page specify "For Immediate Release" or the date and time for publication (embargo). Also at the top of the page, include the name, phone number, and email address of the person who can provide additional information and be available for inquiries. The last paragraph of the release should include references (if relevant) and a "boilerplate," which is a brief description of your mission.
  • Start with the most important information: The headline should provide a brief but attractive phrase to introduce the information in your release. The headline should grab people's attention, which often makes the difference in whether or not it will be read.
  • Also include a subtitle under the headline. This gives you the opportunity to add information to hook the reader. A good headline can make the difference between a press release that is read and reported and one that is deleted. The first line of your release is the most important; make sure it is effective: The lead paragraph includes: who, what, when, where, and how of the story. If the editor only reads the first lines of a good press release, he/she should have everything he/she needs to get the picture.
  • Use simple language: Never use slang, acronyms, or technical terms. If you must use an acronym or technical term, explain it. If using quotes, make sure to have them approved by your organisation's attributed spokesperson.
  • Stick to the facts: Be sure to verify spellings, names, titles, and statistics.
  • Avoid comments. Opinions should only be expressed in quotes.

Media alert

  • A media alert gives reporters information about an upcoming event or activity (press conference, meeting, public event). Please find a sample media alert here (Word)
  • The difference between a media alert and a press release is that an alert tells reporters about an upcoming newsworthy opportunity that could give them a story to write.

Distributing your media alert

  • Send your media alert to "upcoming" or "week-ahead" columns: Look for a phone listing for a news wire service in your city. Wire services include organisations such as the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI).
  • Create a media list: One to two weeks before the event is the best time to email your alert. To get started, develop a current media list. Your list should be up-to-date in order to be effective in reaching reporters and getting them interested in your event.
  • Organise your list: see "Tips for working with media" section in the PDF
  • Target the appropriate reporter for your event (i.e. health reporter, or European Affairs reporter, depending on your news). Also find out how far in advance they would like the information about your event.

Download the complete Rare Cancers Europe Patient Advocacy Toolkit

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