A well-formatted press release has 7 main components. These instructions will help you put together a useful press release for the media.
#1 – Company Logo
Add a little branding and a polished image with a small logo at the top of your press release.
#2 – Press Release Validity
“For Immediate Release”;
“For Release Before [date]” or
“For Release After [date]”
Most press releases are “For Immediate Release” and are most convenient for the media to use. If you are sending a release that shouldn’t be used until after a certain date, you may want to wait until it is ready for “Immediate Release”. Noting that a press release is “For Release Before” may put undue pressure on the media outlet and may cause your story to be passed up. The media gets plenty of press releases and they want to be able to use your release when they need it.
#3 – Contact Information
Include your phone number, address, company name, fax number, email and URL. Be as available for contact as possible.
Here’s what the contact information might look like:
#4 – Attention-Getting Headline
Write an attention-grabbing headline that includes benefit for the target audience. Remember, the media wants to know why your release is relevant to their audience, so keep their audience in mind. Avoid hype, promotional language and excessive adjectives. Be direct, succinct and descriptive.
Here is a sample headline:
#5 – City, State and Date
On the same line where you place your summary (#5), include your city, state and date of the release. These items are generally bold and italicized.
#6 – Summary
Before you get into the body of the release, write a sentence or two to summarize your press release. Make it interesting, you want the recipient to keep reading. This information is generally italicized. Answer the who, what, where, when and why as much as possible.
Here’s what a summary might look like, including the city, state and date:
#7 – Body Content
Now you’re ready to get into the meat of your story. Always keep the target audience in mind your audience and writer. Your audience may partly be the editor or report, but ideally your story should target and share the benefits to media’s audience. HINT: Adjust your release to the target audience when sending it do different media outlets.
Keep in mind that your press release is a newsworthy story. It is not an ad and shouldn’t read like one. Read through a local newspaper and see how stories about businesses are put together to give you an idea of how you might position your release as a story as well.
Your target audience is partly the editor or reporter who will be reading the release. Ultimately, however, your target audience is that editor or reporter’s readers or audience. You need to write a story that will be of interest to them.
Quotations from yourself, your customers and other experts add credibility and allow the injection of opinion into the story.
Close out the body of your release with information on how to get further information, including a phone number, email address and website URL.
#8 – Signify the End of Your Release
Add ### at the bottom of your release to indicate your release is finished. Try to keep your press release to one page.
Press Release Template
<INSERT COMPANY LOGO>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Person’s Full Name
Precise Website Address / URL for More Information
Attention Getting Headline Here – Include a Benefit for the Reader
City, Town, Date – Summary that draws the reader in to learn more. Make sure you address who, what, where, when, why and when. Be succinct, but include enough information.
Provide some relevant background information about your product/event/announcement. Make sure you include information on why this is important to the target audience. Be factual and succinct.
Add a quotation from a customer or somebody who reinforces your expertise or the importance of your announcement. Include that person’s full name and if relevant, include their credentials.
Include a quotation from yourself that says why you created the products/put together the event, etc. Having a quotation from yourself makes it easier for you to assert an opinion, while still remaining newsworthy. Make sure to include your full name and position in the company.
Finish your press release with a company summary and what you do. Include a statement that says, “For more information, please contact…” and include a phone number and email. Also include the URL of where to get more information on the website.