Learn to Format Press Releases With This Standard Sample
Get Info on the Proper Length and Everything Else to Include
Your press release should be kept to about 500 words (some free PR services require you to keep press releases to 250 words or less.) Press releases should be at least three paragraphs long including the opening paragraph, a supporting paragraph(s), and a closing paragraph that restates or summarizes your main points.
Release Date Information
The words "For Immediate Release" should appear at the top of your press release in all capital letters.
Here is an example of how it would look:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Immediately following the release information is the headline.
Embargoed Press Releases
Sometimes you may want to publish a press release with restrictions as to who can release it and when they can release it. If your press release is embargoed, your would also include this information just below the release statement. For example, if you do not want news media or other sources distributing your press release before a certain date, you would use the following format to show the date when the press release may be distributed:
Embargoed for Release at 2 PM, EDT, Sunday, June 7, 2015
Your headline should be in Initial caps - be creative but brief and do not use all upper case or punctuation marks - especially exclamation marks.
You can use an optional sub-headline next. If you use a sub-headline, it should be catchy, informative, or explain or quote something, and written as a brief sentence.
Geographic Information and Press Release Date
Use the following format to identify the location and the date of the release:
Physical location (country, state, city), Month, Day, Year
The Press Release Content
Your opening sentence should be clear and strong. The first paragraph should contain the most important information and entice readers to want to continue reading the press release.
But it should also contain enough concise information that if no one reads further, the opening paragraph could stand on its own. Typically, the opening paragraph offers information about who, what, where, when, why, or how.
The second and subsequent paragraphs comprise the body of the press release. They should contain orderly, more detailed and important information. The body often contains quotes from others to support your message (i.e., customers, clients, staff, peers, donors, or industry experts.)
Your entire press release should be error free. Have someone else check your grammar and proofread for typographical errors. Double check all links, facts, statistics, data, and contact information before you publish your press release.
The "About" Paragraph
Just below your last information paragraph includes a short, positive statement about your company. This is known as the "boilerplate" portion and is a canned promotional sound bite that often contains a website address, length or scope of business, a slogan, etc.
After the "about" information closes the entire press release with contact information (if any) and a series of three-pound signs (as shown below) to indicate the end of the press release.
Janet Smith, Media Relations
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Sample Press Release
The following is a good example of a press release using the standard formatting guidelines detailed above:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Celebrating Emerging Entrepreneurial Leaders
Join Startup Colorado for the Kickoff of Startup Summer
BOULDER, Colo., June 5, 2015, /PRNewswire/ -- Startup Colorado is proud to present the fourth edition of Startup Summer. Founded in 2011, Startup Colorado is a regional initiative to increase the breadth and depth of Front Range startup communities.
Startup Summer 2015 will bring promising entrepreneurial students from Colorado and across the country to work at Colorado startups in an unprecedented three cities – Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs. Students will receive real-world startup experience as well as unmatched access and education from local entrepreneurial leaders.
Join Startup Colorado and the local entrepreneurial community on Tuesday, June 9th at 5 pm to celebrate the up and coming startup talent and kick off Startup Summer 2015. AMG National Trust Bank will host the Startup Summer 2015 class as well as the entrepreneurial community at their new headquarters in Greenwood Village, Colorado. The evening will feature food, drinks, and a discussion with Nancy Phillips, President and CEO of ViaWest, and Erik Mitisek, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association.
To join the celebration register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrating-emerging-leaders-and-kicking-off-startup-summer-tickets-16665136873?aff=es2.
About Startup Colorado:
Startup Colorado is a regional initiative to increase the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Colorado's Front Range. From Fort Collins to Boulder, from Denver to Colorado Springs, our mission is to multiply connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, improve access to entrepreneurial education, and build a more vibrant entrepreneurial community. For more information visit www.startupcolorado.com
Janet Smith, Media Relations
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Usually, when we talk about creating the perfect press release, we focus on crafting catchy headlines and avoiding silly grammar errors. But these aren’t the only elements required for a successful press release. And you might even argue that they aren’t the most important. So, what is?
Press release length is extremely important, but it’s one of those things that never gets talked about and that always gets overlooked.
Reports show the average reporter or editor spends just 5 seconds reading a news release before deciding whether or not to toss it in the garbage. It’s clear that length matters.
This begs the question: What’s the right press release length?
A good press release can be written with anywhere from 300-500 words.
Once you eclipse the 500 word mark, there’s a good chance you’re just wasting space on words that will never get read. Your best bet is to try to get your press release to fit on a single page. This lets the reporter or editor quickly scan through it in their allotted 5 seconds.
How to Keep Your Press Release Short and Sweet
So, what can you do to make sure your press release doesn’t turn into a novel? Here are a few tips for keeping it short and to the point.
- Focus on answering the most basic questions – It’s all about answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions with your press release. Come up with the answers to these questions before you begin writing, and then format these answers into short, easy-to-read paragraphs.
- You don’t have to tell the entire story – You don’t need to include every single detail you can think of in your press release. Remember, your goal is to get the journalist’s attention with your story and to have them contact you for an interview where they can get more details and you can get more coverage.
- Cut out the fluff and hype – I like to do my editing on a physical sheet of paper. That’s why I print out the press release and have a red pen nearby. Go through the press release and search out any fluff, hype, or jargon. Chances are, you’ll find something that doesn’t need to be there. Slash it out with your pen. Once you’ve done all your editing, rewrite it, and give it one more read to make sure it really is fluff-free.
What do you think is the ideal press release length? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.