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How To Create A Local Government Press Release 2024: What To Include and Prioritize

By Stephen Brandofino

In the complex world of local governance, the role of local government officials reaches far beyond policy making and administrative duties. Officials are the conduits by which communities seek representation and progress. While dealing with these daily tasks, local government officials also must ask themselves the question, “How can we effectively share information and better communicate with our constituents?”

Public relations can be one of the most difficult aspects of being a part of local government offices. Despite a local government's best effort to foster transparency and engagement, they are often hindered by a lack of resources and expertise. In a landscape where effective communication is paramount, the inability to craft and push out press releases can leave officials feeling frustrated and disconnected from the community they serve. 

Continue reading to learn how local government officials can create press releases to be impactful and engage your constituents! 

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What Is A Press Release?

A local government press release is a form of newsworthy information that an entity will send out to the public. There are numerous different reasons that an organization will send out a press release including, milestones, rewards, partnerships or other significant developments. Press releases are a necessary tool in spreading information to a wider audience. These are the most accessible and spreadable forms of communication for local government officials and their constituents.  

Read our other resource on Political & Government Agency Press Release Format & Strategy to learn more!

What Should A Press Release Include?

A well crafted press release is an integral part of bridging the communication gap between local government officials and the constituents that they serve. There are several key elements that are needed to effectively convey these messages. Some of the most important parts of a well formatted press release include:

  • Headings For Readability 

The heading of a press release is important for grabbing the attention of your reader. Constituents should feel engaged from the first line, and an attention grabbing header is the perfect way to do so. It is also important for the header to adequately summarize the main announcement in about 10-15 words and have understandable language for all readers to connect with. 

Learn more about the ADA Website Compliance Checklist.

  • All Relevant Information About The Subject

The substance of a press release is key. A press release should be clear and concise, and only contain the most necessary information about a subject. The main content of the press release should elaborate on the announcement, provide details or quotes from relevant parties such as local government leaders, and any additional information that can be important to constituents. 

Consider our guide on GovPilot Upward Mobility Planning At The Local Level.  

  • Professional Tone and Grammar 

Maintaining a professional tone in a press release is essential. With this, your local government can gain credibility, respect, and trust from your constituents. Professional tone and grammar can also help build a positive image for your local government, as well as increase the likelihood of community wide acceptance. 

  • Clear and Accessible Vocabulary 

It is important to remember that your press release should be accessible and easy to read for all constituents. Within your community, there may be different levels of education and knowledge of vocabulary. You should ensure that you are not alienating any particular group within your community by utilizing vocabulary that is understandable to all constituents.

Consider our guide to Promoting Equity in Local Government here. 

How To Format Your Press Release: 5 Steps

Formatting a press release should include the following steps to ensure that it is as readable and effective as possible for your audience:

1. Create a Catchy Yet Informative Title 

When writing your press release, it is most important to start by creating a title that will attract readers and constituents to engage with your press release. Your title should include your municipality name, a brief description of what you're announcing. 

  • When coming up with a title, be creative and informative and craft something like this: 

“Rockland County, NY Deployed Report-A-Concern Module With GovPilot To Streamline Government Operations”

2.  Include a Summary Subject Line 

The first sentence in your press release should come before, and separated from your body paragraphs. This sentence is meant to summarize the most vital information so that even at a glance the readers will quickly be able to retain information. Ask yourself, “What is this PR about?” and answer that question in the summary line. 

  • Consider this example for your next press release summary sentence: 

“Rockland County, NY expands their partnership with the government management software provider to streamline operations and government services in the municipality.”

3. Create Body Paragraphs With Clear/Straightforward Information

When you’re writing a press release, it is important to hook the readers early with a catchy title and subject line, but it is equally important to fill your press release with vital and valuable information. If you want constituents to read and share your press release, make sure to value their time; don't write a novel, be straight to the point and include all relevant information that they could need.  

  • Ensure that your local government press release body paragraphs have all the information needed and fill about 1- 1 ½ pages. 

4. Tell Readers Where To Get More Information

After your constituents have read your announcement, they may want to learn more about the subject matter. This should be encouraged as it plays a big part in ensuring your constituents stay engaged with their local government. Include any sources you referenced when sharing the information in your press release alongside the source information and websites that your constituents can visit to get further information. 

5. Plug Local Government Website

Be sure to close your press release with a list of resources for your constituents to navigate to in order to keep up with the local government and hear more important announcements. List out your local government social media accounts on (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) so that residents know how to keep up with any new community news. It is also vital to keep those social media accounts updated regularly so that constituents are able to reference them and share your posts online. 

What’s Next? Sharing Your Press Release Online

Sharing your press release and distributing it to readers is the next phase of this marketing process. Read the steps you should follow to share your press release in the most valuable venues possible. 

  • Share Press Release on a Distribution Site

Distribution websites are websites specifically intended to distribute your articles, announcements, and press releases to a relevant audience. Websites such as EINPresswire and PR NewsWire are online resources that work as a middleman between your government and local publications. There are many local publications for your town that would be thrilled to share your announcements on their platform, and distribution websites help this happen.

  • Post Your Press Release on Social Media

Social media is a form of technology that virtually everyone uses day to day. From smartphones, to laptops, to smart TV’s to tablets, most constituents access social media multiple times per day. Sharing your posts and press releases on social media makes the information widely shareable and easy for constituents to re-post.

Read our guide to Local Government Social Media Strategy here. 

  • Send Press Release To Relevant Parties

Once your press release is written and published, consider email campaigns as part of your local government marketing strategy. This is a great way to send your press release directly to people who may have a specific interest in your operations and announcements. For example, letting constituents sign up for an announcement list or sending information to business owners in your town will help the most interested parties see your article immediately. 

  • Post Your Press Release on Your Local Government Website 

Your local government press release should live on your local government website so that constituents can always find it in the same, stable, online location. There are also surely residents who visit your local government website regularly, who will be thrilled to see it updated with current information and events in the municipality.

Read our guide to Government Website Design Tips

Learn How To Write Press Releases For Your Municipality Now

Press releases are a modern and useful way to spread news and information to constituents straight from their local government. However there are best practices and ways to create a press release that greatly affects the impact it can have; ensure you follow the steps we outlined to publish the most impactful press releases. Book a consultation with GovPilot to learn how government software can streamline your operations and make all aspects of running a government more simple. 

Local Government Press Release FAQs

  • Why are press releases useful? 

Press releases are a streamlined way to send information to constituents online, through various publications and media outlets. This gives constituents the best opportunity to see the announcements and share them. 

  • What are the steps to write a press release? 

When writing a press release, it is important to first define your subject matter and ensure you have the most accurate information to share. Next, write the press release, edit it, post it on a distribution site and share it online. 

  • What can be written about for a press release? 

Local government press releases can cover a wide range of topics including: weather announcements, current events, current news and updates about community happenings, election dates, and new policies. 

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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, Constituent Experience, Digital Transformation