Today, press release distribution has become an online activity. Whether you are marketing a startup, promoting a new product or service or are willing to arise interest to some non-profit event, the press release can be an invaluable tool to get free publicity. A well-written press release is an opportunity to attract the attention of reporters, editors, TV producers and other professionals that can result in multiple articles about your business and your products that can drive prospects to contact you. Keep in mind that your newsworthy story has a better chance of getting covered if you target not only major national news outlets but also get your story covered by smaller local media.
In this article, we are going to explain how to write an impressive and easy-to-digest press release that will earn you news coverage and become a valuable piece of a marketing content.
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Press Release Format Guidelines
A press release or a news release is an official message, a brief printed statement that presents the major facts of a news story in a journalistic style. Commonly, when writing press releases, you should follow a well-defined format that helps simplify the writing process and ensures that the readers can get the necessary details in an efficient way.
Before you start writing a press release, you have to do some preparation work and decide about the creative angle first. You should think about your story from the reader’s perspective and decide what in your story will get the people’s attention and make them want to know more. After that, you should give the facts which present your news as objectively as possible. In this way, you will give your news release the right tone and make it fit better into the accepted format.
Most press releases are succinct: one page or 400-500 words is best. Your press release should be to the point and contain only the significant details. If you make your press release look like a story, it is more likely to be picked up and republished. So if you have never written press releases before, a good idea is to find a good ready-made template sample which shows how it is done.
Now let’s discuss the components of an effective press release. The standard news release structure includes the following parts:
Headline text in Initial caps
It is a brief attention-grabbing sentence that summarizes your news. Reporters get lots of releases every day so you should invest your time to write a compelling headline that is simple and short (within 70-180 character range), clearly focuses your audience’s attention on your topline message, and inspires them to read further. Don’t try to impress journalists with your extensive vocabulary. Instead, you should use language that is easy to understand. Your headline should be centered and bolded and you should use a larger font than in the body text.
Sub-headline text (optional)
It is an additional brief statement that informs, explains or quotes something and develops your message further. Keep in mind that the sub-headline should not repeat the information that you have presented in the headline.
Location and the date of the press release
You can use the following format to identify the geographic information and the release date:
(Country, state, city), month, day, year
The dateline should be separated from the first paragraph by a dash.
The press release content
A press release should be at least three paragraphs long. The first paragraph should contain the most important information and cover the who, what, where, when, and why/how of the press release. It means that you should present the facts about your important event or new product that summarize the whole story. You should stick to the point and avoid hype.
Additional paragraphs provide supporting materials and further important details. They can contain statistics, significant background information, photos, videos, audio clips, and direct quotes from staff, industry experts, clients, customers, peers or donors. Ideally, the quotes should be from key stakeholders in your company. Write your body paragraphs in a journalistic style so that national and local media outlets will be able to use your content as-is.
Below your last information paragraph, you should include a short positive statement about your organization or company. It should be a factual description of what your company does and you can use the boilerplate repeatedly in different press releases. It can contain information about your company’s website, scope or length of business, a slogan, and more.
Closing contact information
At the end of the press release, you should provide the contact information: the name, phone number, and email address of the PR contact who can give additional information and answer all the questions about the press release. Your contact information may look like in this example:
Contact: John Black, Media Relations
Tel.: (123) 456-7890
You can also include links to the social media pages.
If you press release has two pages, the first page should end with “-more-“ and the final page should end with three hash marks, like this ###.
A relevant, readable, and relatable press release can be a valuable medium for communicating news to your audience, especially if you use a creative approach, but writing a press release that can become a great branding and credibility tool is not easy. For this reason, here we have good free samples of press release templates that were written according to the standard formatting guidelines that we detailed above. They cover various topics and will guide you towards successful media campaigns. Use these winning samples as starting blocks or models or as inspiration to generate interesting ideas for your own successful news releases that will intrigue reporters and editors.
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