A press release is a short, written, or recorded persuasive official announcement conveyed to target media members by a company’s public relations officer to announce a product or inform about new circumstances. It is a letter of one to two pages or approximately 500 words in length.
A press release collects all the important facts of a company’s story into a single source and sends them to journalists and media outlets. It provides the company with valuable media exposure, allows them to shape the information in public about their products, and to achieve their goals.
It is a primary source of information (i.e., the original source of data) written by technical press release professionals, professional journalists, an efficient member of a company’s public relations and/or marketing department, or a press release writing company in an AP style format.
The press release is useful to garner attention effectively, create publicity and honorably position the company. In addition, it fosters brand identity and awareness, which generates leads and increases sales.
A press release goes by some of the other following names:
- Press statement
- News release
- Media release
- Information sheet
- News bulletin
Press Release Templates
How to Make a Press Release Effective
Format of Press Release Template
To effectively communicate and intrigue a media house or journalist, imbibe the following format in the press release template:
The “release on” date places a definite embargo on the release of the information, as the company desires, or for immediate release. It is written completely in capital letters at the top-right side of the press release template.
Title and italicized subheading
The title is a brief summary of the news in a maximum of 6-words and is used to pique the interest of the journalist. Below the title is an italicized subheading called a “dek” or “deck”, which details more information about the headline.
The opening line of the template of press release (a “lede”) is a summary of the news that answers the “5-W’s” questions: who, what, where, when, and why. It should be a detailed summary sentence that attracts readers to the story of not more than 20 words. Next, determine what makes the announcement interesting and important to the target audience and make journalists report it.
The spacing in a press release template is important for readers to read easily and understand crucial facts quickly. The writer should use a single or 1.5 line spacing with double spacing between paragraphs – each paragraph should represent different sections of the press release.
There are two types of body paragraphs in a press release – the first body paragraph and the remaining body paragraph. Each paragraph should not surpass 2 to 4 sentences. Therefore, keep them detailed and brief.
The first body paragraph contains major details of the news of the company and should include facts about the 5 Ws – who, what, where, when and why. Furthermore, it should contain few attractive quotes that the journalist could use in their publication of the story, attract media attention and highlight the content of the release.
The remaining body paragraphs build on the content of the first body paragraph, title, and subheading and offer essential background information about the company or news story.
Bulleted facts or figures
Important facts or statistics (company or product’s achievements) should be bulleted for the readers to note easily. Figures in a template of press release are a great visualization tool that attracts the target audience’s attention and presents the company as a force in their field.
The boilerplate is the last paragraph of the press release, which summarizes the company (“who”) and its activities (“what”). It is short, truthful “about us” information on the company that is used in all their press releases.
A “###” at the end
A number/pound sign “###” is the end notation and it is centered at the foot of the press release. It signals the end of the communiqué and ensures that unintended extra words or characters are not mistakenly included in the publication.
Here are a few templates to get the understanding of the format of a press release:
How to Write a Great Press Release
To produce a captivating press release, follow these steps:
Add company logo
The company logo is the foremost detail included in a press release – it is placed at the top center of the document. For press releases distributed by emails, it is vital to include a high-resolution PNG image link of the company’s logo.
Provide contact information and “or Immediate Release”
It is important to have the particulars of the contact person in the company in the press release. This will allow interested people to contact the company for more information. Place the contact details to the right of the document immediately under the company’s logo.
The “immediate release” is a directive to the journalists to release the news immediately. It goes under the company’s logo on the left margin of the document.
Include the release date
The release date places an embargo on the release of the information sheet and directs the journalists as to the date and time to publish the news. It stays under the company’s logo on the left margin of the document.
“FOR RELEASE ON September 16, 2021, AT 16:00”.
Create a headline
Think up possible headlines for the story, maybe 10 – the best headline does not come immediately, and settle on the best that will enchant the audience. Include headlines with numbers and other exciting elements because they perform better during circulation and help readers visualize the article.
Include the deck
The deck is the italicized sub-header under the headline. It expounds a bit on the headline without repeating it. Add in keywords to make it come up during related searches and increase reportage.
Write the dateline
The dateline shows the location and date of publication. It records the name of the city in capitals, an abbreviation of the state and the date, separated from the beginning of the first body paragraph with an en dash
NEW YORK, NY, February 18, 2011 — [First body paragraph]
Set up a perspective
Align the headline to related news prevalent at the time of publication. It gives the story more traction and makes it relatable. News angles on progress, conflict, local impact, and drama might fetch a front-page spot.
Start putting information
You can start putting information in the body of the press release.
The first paragraph answers the 5-W questions to provide a summary of the press release’s principal idea. It clarifies the purpose and data of the press release and conveys its newsworthiness to the press.
Remainder of body
The paragraphs that make up the remainder of the body give significant secondary and additional facts to the press release. They build on the first paragraph and headline and includes quotes, multimedia, links, and statistics.
Summarize the key elements
Utilize the five Ws to summarize the key elements of the press release. Answer the five questions of “who”, “what”, “when”, “where,” and “why” to summarize the press release to quickly enlighten readers who cannot read the whole publication.
Add press contact details
The press contact details appear at either the beginning of the document (under the headline and aligned to the left) or at the bottom. In addition, it lists the contact person’s data for the press to follow up.
Contact: David Mark
Phone: (000) 345-6789
The boilerplate is the company’s calling card in the last paragraph section of the press release. It details information about the company and its achievements. A good boilerplate on a digital press release will link to the company’s webpage.
Include end notation
Center the end notation at the bottom of the document but before the final note. The end notation signals the end of the communication irrespective of its pages. The end notation at the bottom of the last page bears the “###” symbol.
Add final note and CTA
Final notes and CTA (Call to Action), at the bottom of the release, give readers a directive to further interact with the company. Add the CTA with the contact details of the company’s representative. For example, “For more information, please visit our IG page @movers.com”.
Add ### or another signifier
Add ### or other signifiers (-END- or -30-) to the central end of the correspondence to indicate its end. A 2-paged press release will have the word “more” centered at the foot of the first page and “###” at the end of the second page.
Offer multimedia resources
Embedded multimedia resources such as visual and interactive content enthrall readers and generate coverage. Journalists readily publish such stories for this reason. Include multimedia like a short video presentation or a picture.
The tips mentioned below help to create an attractive and effective press release:
Time your release
The timing of a press release plays an important role in the amount of exposure it gets. Send stories out early in the week for good media traction. Target Tuesdays for the best attention from editors and avoid the rush on Mondays. Sending stories out on Fridays almost guarantees poor or no visibility.
Reach out to the right journalists
Be intentional about the distribution of your press release. Companies should connect and build relationships with specific journalists that have experience covering their fields. This can be facilitated by establishing a database of journalists and editors through paid services or networking options.
Pitch directly to editors
Companies should consider making their press release exclusive to editors, especially when the press release fits perfectly into the nature of their publication. However, before companies commit to this, they should be certain that their target audience and intended coverage is one and the same with the publication’s readership and coverage area.
Use a wire service
Use wire services to ensure the fastest distribution rate and a wider reach for your press release. That way, a lot of media outlets can pick up the press release easily. In addition, wire services add credibility to press releases and make them come off as more official.
Share the media coverage
Ensure you have a media section on your company website. It boosts your brand’s SEO, and helps other journalists to discover your company. After your press release has been picked up and published by an editor, share the resulting news article on your media page and on social media, and encourage your audience to comment and share.
Give attention to formatting
Stick to proper press release formatting like length (maximum of 400 – 500 words or 2 pages), avoid the use of personal pronouns (I, we, or you), the header should be in bold with sub-header in italics, use single line spacing (or 1.5 line spacing) and maintain professional fonts (Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri).
Grammar and spelling
The press release is vital to a company’s brand identity; therefore, it should be free of grammar and spelling errors. Journalists will discard a press release littered with errors, while readers will lose confidence in the company or their product. It portrays the company as unprofessional and changes the intended information.
Include a quote from the company
Include a quote from the company in the press release to reduce the work of a busy reporter and to increase the chances of having the story reported and featured. A quote helps to bring the details of the press release to life, and reporters find it useful in creating context around the announcement. Use the chosen quote to shape the narrative and to place emphasis on the core of the publication.
Writing a press release requires the best copywriting skills. This entails succinctly stating intentions in a direct manner and eliminating irrelevancies. Limit the word count to 500 words, and ensure you do not fail to emphasize the important part for your readers.
A press release is like a public representation of your company that influences people’s opinion about the brand. Mistake-strewn press releases harm the brand and might communicate wrong messages. Go through the press release to catch mistakes before distribution.
Make your headline irresistible
Just like emails and subject lines, your press release’s headline sets it up for success or failure. Think of a newsworthy angle and use it to create an interesting headline. Keep the headline brief. Use simple, clear and understandable sentences with action verbs.
Convey the news value to the press
You have to give journalists a reason upfront why they should care enough to share your press release. Use the inverted pyramid formula to share the most important information first. Journalists can easily determine newsworthiness when all germane facts are stated clearly in the first paragraph. To ensure your readers do not miss them, make sure all important information are included in this section.
Don’t be afraid to go offline
There are offline alternatives – snail mail, courier services and personal deliveries – to send a press release and get a journalist’s attention. Emails inundate media houses and some press releases get missed. Offline alternatives increase the chances of getting a journalist directly.
Avoid publishing on the decided hour
Most companies set the distribution of their press release on the hour (12 p.m. or 6 p.m.) when they use a distribution service. Refrain from this practice because the article might get lost in the traffic; rather use a distinct time like 12:43 p.m.
Write visual or interactive content
Include interactive (social media handles, links, hashtags, or videos) and visual (infographics) embedded content that will make readers consume more company information. Interactive elements push journalists and readers to complete an action like clicking a link, watching a video, etc., and this affords your brand more ways to track your audience preferences and actions.
Create an exploratory journey
Uniqueness is a prominent feature of good reporting. Information that is available to other journalists is not of much value to a journalist. As such, it provide ample information for journalists to offer unique and exciting stories that will connect with their readers.
Choose the right press release distribution service
All press release distribution services have their own unique formatting style. Make sure you pick a distribution service with formatting requirements that align with your company’s needs. In addition, before submitting your press release, double-check the formatting to be sure it meets the standards of your chosen distribution service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Send a press release directly to journalists and media houses if a database exists. In its absence, use a press release distribution service to reach a wider audience swiftly and effortlessly.
An AP style press release follows the Associated Press guidelines used by journalists. This makes the use of a press release in this style smooth for journalists. Our free downloadable templates adhere to this standard.
A newsworthy press release that captivates the reader and circulates to a large target audience is a good press release.