Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

How to write a press release

Find out how to write a press release to send to local media to promote Scouts

All good media work begins with a press release, a document to share with journalists that explains your story.

Writing a press release should focus your mind on what's important, helping you to be clear about what you want to say. The finished release should give a journalist something to work with, as they build their news story.

Press releases have a standard format, so journalists know what they’re receiving. A press release will normally be one side of A4. By crunching everything down to this size, you’ll focus a complex story into a simple briefing that non-Scouts can understand. This short document should help a journalist digest the information and guide them through your Scouts’ story in an order that makes sense.

Download our press release builder to help you get started.

The Five Ws

When writing your press release make sure you answer the following questions, the key facts your story is built on.

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?

Who was there? What happened? When did it happen? Where it did it take place? Why did the event occur? Remember, a good press release is like a set of puzzle pieces – they fit together to clearly show the full picture.

Make sure you summarise the whole story in the first paragraph of the release. A reporter should be able to grasp the details of what went on by reading this paragraph, it may be all they read if they’re busy. The remainder of the release is a detailed expansion of the facts.

The key elements of the story we want to tell about Scouts: through our organisation, young people are given amazing opportunities to build friendships, enjoy new experiences, gain life skills, aid personal development, and enjoy everyday fun and adventures. 

Key messages

Key messages are essential in all communication. To be effective, you must identify the messages you want to deliver, using them to structure your writing.

Our inspiring stories should align with Scouts’ key messages. Here are some examples:

  • We're Scouts and everyone is welcome here. All genders, races, and backgrounds.
  • Every week we give almost half a million people aged 4-25 the skills they need for school, college, university, job interviews, the important speeches, tricky challenges, and big dreams: the skills they need for life.
  • At a time when communities are becoming more divided, we bring people together.
  • When many young people are struggling to find purpose and belonging, Scouts helps them develop skills, confidence, and a sense of hope.
  • We inspire positive futures and help young people find their place in the world by developing the character, employability, and practical skills they need to succeed. 

Every piece of communication needs a key message, what you want the reader or listener to remember. Is it obvious? Do you know what it is? If a story you’re telling doesn’t have a key message that demonstrates Scouts as a modern, growing, adventure-based organisation, where young people and adults learn skills for life, why are you writing it?

Which quote should I use?

Quotes are the most important part of any press release. A record of someone's first-hand account, good quotes are packed full of feelings and emotions, they bring a story to life. It’s great to hear in a quote that someone is proud, happy, or excited.

Make sure you get a quote from a young person. It should reflect their excitement in being a part of Scouts, including the positive experiences they’ve gained. The quote might be about staying away from home for the first time, a new activity they’ve tried, building friendships, skills learned or simply how much they’re enjoying the adventure.

Also, include a quote from an adult volunteer. What have they gained from their experience? This could be them talking about becoming more confident, organised, or how they enjoy being taken out of their comfort zone. It’s great to hear volunteers speak about the reward they feel in helping young people have a positive experience. Quotes like this should encourage others to volunteer.

Lastly, try to include a quote from someone outside of Scouts. A journalist will expect Scouts’ members to say the organisation is great. Hearing this message from someone external can be really powerful. Words from people like a HM Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mayor, Councillor, or local celebrity can have a real impact.

Call to action

Please include a ‘call to action’ in your press release, so a reader knows what you want them to do. Perhaps you’re looking for new volunteers, so more young people can join. Your call to action might be explaining that you’re opening a new Scout Troop and want the parents and carers of young people to know there are spaces available to join.

Contact details

Include your own details in the press release. That way, if the reporter needs to get any further information, they can contact you. You can also include a website with more information, or the Scouts' website.

What images should I use with my press release?

Inspiring photography is at the heart of our brand. Photos should show our diversity, fun, friendship, and adventures. Above all, images should promote a sense of belonging. The emphasis should be on capturing moments of connection, learning, sharing, and achievement. Images should focus on the emotional response to activities rather than simply showing the activities themselves.

You can find example images in the Scout Brand Centre.

Managing photographs and video

Learn how to keep children and young people safe when creating and using digital content.

Read our digital safeguarding guidelines

Where should I send my press release?

You now need to think about your audience. Is it young people or adults? Is it a focused geographical area or a certain community?

There are lots of different types of outlets to consider:

  • Written (newspapers, magazines, community newsletters, and news websites). Community magazines are often delivered to every home and business in a town or village, or available for free from local supermarkets. People often retain these magazines, as they give details of local businesses such as plumbers, gardeners, and electricians. Local papers are normally available to purchase from newsagents and supermarkets, people tend to not keep these newspapers as long – they’re often quickly recycled. Most local newspapers have a website and that includes items submitted by the public. Some towns will have a website and these can be useful for getting stories out too.
    40 million people read local news media, in print and digital, every month, that's 73% of on the UK population aged 15+. Online audiences are continuing to grow. 81% of British people agree that they trust news and information they see in their local news media. Scouts is a community-based organisation, so our content works brilliantly in local papers.
  • Local radio. Radio reaches a wide audience, so is good for local visibility. BBC local radio stations often cover several counties, for example ‘Three Counties Radio’ is focused on Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire. Local independent and commercial radio stations will reach different audiences. Independent radio stations often cater to a specific town, so their audience will be smaller. Commercial radio stations are financed by businesses and often don’t have space for community pieces. Remember, most people listen to the radio whilst doing something else, so it’s important to make your interview stand out!
  • Community WhatsApp groups. WhatsApp groups are hyper-local, often covering just a handful of roads. They’re a powerful tool, as the primary audience for any Scout Group is its immediate neighbours.
  • Social media. The social media toolkit is a great source of information on this subject.

When you’ve decided what sort of outlet you’d like to work with, find out how to contact them. A good place to start is where you’ll find more about your local outlets.

Media toolkit

Learn to generate positive local media coverage on the radio, in print and online outlets. 

Get Scouts noticed in the media >
Try our press release builder

Unsure where to start with your press release? Use our template and get ready to share your story with the media.

Write your own press release >