The Standard Press Release Format
Press releases have been around for a long time. And the format has remained standard throughout most of that. If you’re writing a press release, following that same format will increase your chances of your “news” being picked up by one or more publications.
There’s not a lot of room for wielding your creative wand when putting together press releases. The more you veer away from the standard format, the more difficult you make it for reporters, bloggers and editors to get the meat of your message. If your press release doesn’t look like a press release, it’s more likely to be passed over.
- Release Details. Put the company name and address on the top left-hand side, with the date of the press release on the right. Write “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” or “EMBARGO FOR RELEASE UNTIL…” on the same right-hand area as well.
- Headline. Put the headline of your press release immediately after that. Make sure it reads like a news headline, cramming as much immediate information as possible. You can elaborate on the title by adding a subtitle right below it.
- Dateline. Appearing right below the headline, at the start of the first sentence of the first paragraph, this just repeats the date and place where the press release originated. It’s unnecessary these days, but consider it tradition.
- Copy. Follow the standard news reporting format here, following an inverted pyramid approach to development. Try to get the journalistic questions (5 W’s and 1 H) answered early on, even if it parrots some items from the headline.
- Closing paragraphs. You can tack on one or more closing paragraphs. Usually, these consist of boilerplate descriptions for the companies or entities doing the press release.
- Ending. End it with “###” or “END.” Again, it’s unnecessary, but it follows the standard traditions (and it doesn’t hurt).