Your survey results are in. Now it’s time to let your community know what you discovered. Here’s how to write an attention-grabbing press release to share the news.
Local governments' community engagement efforts often go unnoticed by residents. Even cities with a dedicated communications department struggle to reach community members. Leveraging local news media through press releases, in addition to social media, signage, and city email lists, is an effective way to share your hard work and keep residents informed and engaged.
Sharing survey results lets residents know you’re putting their feedback to use, fosters a sense of trust, and encourages more participation in the future. Follow these steps on how to write an attention-grabbing press release about your data and let your community know their voices are heard.
1. Contact and Release Information
Start the press release with contact information. Most local governments include the name, address, phone number, and email address. This information usually goes on the top left of the press release. Put “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” in all caps with the date underneath it after the contact information. This means journalists can use the release as soon as they receive it. If journalists are not allowed to publish immediately, use “EMBARGO” or “NOT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”
The City of Gulf Breeze City Clerk’s Office 1070 Shoreline Dr. Gulf Breeze, FL 32561 850-000-0000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 8, 2023
Keep your headline to around 10 words and make sure it fits on one line. Shorter is better. The headline should be punchy and focus on newsworthy information about your data or survey results. Maybe your local government plans to use community feedback in a strategic plan or maybe your city scored particularly high in a certain area that you’d like to highlight. Hone in on what you think is the most important news and spotlight that information.
90% of Residents Approve of Quality of Life in Skokie But City Officials Aim Higher
Hemet Residents Reveal Their Most Important Community Priorities
The subheadline should add supporting information to the headline, but is a little less important than the headline itself. Keep the subheadline to one to two lines. Together the headline and subheadline should inform readers what the press release is about and show reporters that the topic is newsworthy.
90% of Residents Approve of Quality of Life in Skokie But City Officials Aim Higher Community feedback is a top priority in Skokie’s new strategic plan.
Hemet Residents Reveal Their Most Important Community Priorities Survey results show the economy and heath are the top concerns to in Hemet. These focus areas are central priorities in the City's new strategic plan.
Before getting into the body, press releases often start with the location where the release is coming from in parentheses, which is then followed by a hyphen.
(Gulf Breeze, FL) – The body of the press release should give the details of the story you wish to promote. Start with the most important details up top and the less important information at the bottom.
The entire press release should fit on one page.
You want the press release to serve as a fully formed, ready-to-publish article, so it’s best to include multiple quotes in your press release as well. Quotes add color to the press release itself and reporters can easily incorporate the quotes into their news stories or simply publish the press release as-is.
Polco has a template available for your to use as a starting point. Be sure to ask your Customer Success Manager if you want help.
Polco is also happy to provide a quote for you to include in your press release. Ask your CSM for a custom quote or feel free to use this one:
“We know that cities that are dedicated to community engagement are often higher performers overall,” said Nick Mastronardi, CEO of Polco. “Data helps align governments around the most important issues so they can make better decisions and create long-lasting outcomes together.”
If you need more help, check out these examples of well-written press releases by other Polco clients.
A boilerplate is an “About Us” section at the end of the press release that lets journalists know exactly where the information is coming from and who they need to reference. The boilerplate should include information about the local government that produced the press release. This section is meant to be reused in the article without much change to the description.
6. Media Contact Information
Add the best contact person at the end of the press release as well. If reporters want to elaborate on the story idea, they know who to contact for interviews.
Conclude the release with three pound signs. This is an indication there is no further information on the release.
A key step in the cycle of engagement is reporting back to the community. A press release is a useful vehicle to give residents assurance that their input will be put to use. The process will create stronger resident satisfaction in government services, build trust, and keep the community informed on all your efforts.
Spread the Word About Your Survey Results
Please reach out to your Customer Success Manager for more information or assistance on how to write a press release about your community data.