Start with a strong headline that conveys the value of your news to the press. The headline should be catchy but also easy to understand. Professional writers often spend as much time on a headline as they do writing an article. If you need inspiration, review your favorite blogs and online news sources and pay attention to the headlines that make you want to click to the story.
In the first paragraph, immediately tell reporters why they should share your announcement by explaining why their readers care. Share a startling statistic, counterintuitive fact, or innovative development. Then use supporting paragraphs to bring your release to life with details and colorful quotes. Simply stating facts or sounding self-congratulatory won’t do.
Complete your release with a strong but succinct boilerplate. Clearly explain what your company does and why its stakeholders are experts in the industry. And don’t forget to include contact information. A release won’t go anywhere if a reporter can’t easily contact the stakeholder or his or her representative.
Sample press release format
There are seven parts to a standard press release:
- Title and italicized subheading to summarize the news
- Location where the news is based, i.e., your headquarters
- Two to three paragraphs of details
- Bulleted facts
- Company description at the bottom
- Contact information
- A “###” at the end
When sending a press release, include when you want reporters to publish the news in the upper left hand corner. Two common options are:
- “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,” if you want the story to go live right away.
- “HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL…” if you don’t want the story made public yet. Be sure to include the date when sending.
One common formatting mistake businesses make when writing a press release is making it too long. Michelle Garrett, a PR consultant at Garrett Public Relations, explains, “Don’t try to cram everything under the sun into your press release. The purpose of a press release is to give an overview and a few pertinent details about what it is you’re announcing.” She adds, “Include one or two executive and/or customer quotes. Then be sure to include links to visit for more information.” Aim to keep your press release short, sweet, and to the point.