How To Write a Press Release
Press releases follow a well-defined format that helps simplify the writing process. Journalists and bloggers read hundreds of press releases a day, so following this format helps ensure they catch the essential information at a glance.
This section will walk you through the different components of an effective press release:
1. Logo: The first thing you should put on your press release is your company logo at the top center of the page. If you are emailing your press release, it’s a good idea to include a high-resolution copy of your logo as a separate file.
2. Contact Information: Below the logo, you can put your contact information along the left margin. Some people opt to put their contact information after the body paragraphs. Whether you choose to put your contact information first or last, it should look like this:
You may also want to include links to social media pages, such as your Twitter account or Facebook page.
3. Release Date: Not all press releases contain a release date, but if you decide to include one, put it at below your logo on the right margin. This should either say “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE”, or “FOR RELEASE ON [date] AT [time]”.
4. Headline: The headline is your first chance to grab your reader’s attention and inspire them to keep reading. You should keep your headline short and to the point. Try to stay within the 80-170 characters range, and use language that is clear and easy to understand.
Remember, you’re trying appeal to a journalist, so you don’t need to plug your company right away. The headline can serve to set up the big picture story into which you can weave your business later on. It should be centered, use a larger font than the body text, and be bolded.
Here are some more tips on how to write a great press release headline.
5. Sub-Headline: The sub-headline is an optional feature that is written directly below the headline. It gives you the opportunity to further develop your story angle, but should not repeat information already presented in the headline.
6. Dateline: The dateline presents the location and date of the article, and is separated from the first body paragraph by a dash. The location should be spelled out in all capitals. It should look like this:
BOSTON, MA, September 1 – [Body Text…]
7. First Body Paragraph: The first body paragraph should present the who, what, when, where, and why/how of the press release. This should act as a short summary that gives the reader a general idea of what the whole story is about. You should stick to the facts here, and avoid hyping or trying to sell your products or services.
8. Remainder of Body: The remainder of the body paragraphs serve to complete the story you have introduced in the headline and 1st body paragraph. Be sure to write in a journalistic style so that media outlets can use your text as-is. You can use the second paragraph to provide background context for the article. Use short paragraphs (2-4 sentences), and feel free to include statistics, hyperlinks, media content and quotes.
- Media Content: Part of the body can include different types of media content, such as photos, videos, and audio clips. Be sure to also include the original files so that your media contacts can use these clips if they wish. Media content can help you stand out on both social media and search engines.
- Quotes: You can use separated block quotes to highlight certain aspects of your story. Quotes can help add another perspective other than the writer’s.
9. Boilerplate: The final paragraph in your press release should be the boilerplate, which presents information about your company and what it does. This should be a factual description, and it can be used repeatedly in different press releases.
For more information on how to write a boilerplate, see this article.
10. End notation: If your press release uses two pages, the first page should end in with “-more-“ centered at the bottom of the page. Your final page should end with three pound signs, like this: ###
11. Final Note: Once you have ended the text of the press release, it’s a good idea to put one final note at the bottom that encourages someone who would like more information to reach out to you. Something like:“If you would like more information about this topic, please call [Name] at [Phone number], or email [email address].
If you are ready to distribute your first release press release, check out our comparison of eReleases, PR Web and PR Newswire, the top press release distribution services for small businesses. In short, we found eReleases to have the best service, as it distributes to the Associated Press network, PR Newswire’s network, and their own network of bloggers and journalists.
How to Format a Press Release
Here’s a few more things to keep in mind as you write and format your press release:
- Keep the total length under 2 pages, ideally 400-500 words
- Avoid using “I”, “we”, or “you”
- Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Calibri
- Bolded, larger headline
- Body text should be single spaced, with one line of space between paragraphs
- Use standard 1 inch margins and white paper
Last but not least: PROOFREAD. A press release is an opportunity to present your company in a highly professional manner. Be sure to proofread your press release a few times to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
Press Release Examples
Here’s a few examples of common types of press releases. For more examples, check out our Top 29 Favorite Press Releases, including tips from the authors on how they were successful.
New Product Launch Press Release Example:
The Biggest Loser Trainer, Pauline Nordin Launches a New Brand and App to Defatten America
Scandinavian Biggest Loser trainer and creator of the successful DVD, “The Butt Bible”, is launching a new app called “Live Life Lean”.
Full release here.
New Location Press Release Example:
Grand Opening: Rock N’ Taco Brings Musically Modern Mexican Fare to Uptown Dallas
Rock N’ Taco is newest addition to Dallas’ Uptown area.
Full Release here.
Event Press Release Example:
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church to Host Thanksgiving Eve Service
Celebrate Thanksgiving Eve with the “Joy In Giving” service at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church on Nov. 27. A free-will offering is encouraged.
Full release here.
The Bottom Line
Following our press release format template will help you stay on point as you write your press release. You may want to check back now and then make sure you’ve included all the key information, such as your release date, boilerplate, or end notation.
Once you’re ready to launch, check out our comparison of the top press release distribution services for small businesses. While results, by nature, are unpredictable, we found eReleases to be the most promising. Their distribution network includes Associated Press, PR Newswire and their own network of journalists and bloggers.