Format of a press release
Hints and tips
Press releases tend to follow a standard format as it makes it easier for journalists to get the details they need in an efficient way. It also helps journalists distinguish press releases from pitch letters and other types of PR tools.
The standard press release format includes:
- Headline: a brief attention-grabbing statement summarizing the news.
- Subhead (optional): a secondary statement which builds on the headline and further fleshes out the news.
- Dateline: the city where the news is originating and the date of the release.
- Lead or introductory paragraph: the first paragraph of the release which generally answers the Who, What, When, Where and Why questions.
- Body: additional paragraphs which provide supporting material and further details, i.e., direct quotes, relevant background information and statistics.
- Boilerplate: a short paragraph giving information about the issuing company or organisation.
- Close: add ### after the press release content and before the media contact information, signaling the end of the press release.
- Source: the company or organization issuing the release.
- Media contact information: the name, phone number and email address for the PR or media relations contact responsible for any questions about the release.
Tips for writing a good press release
- Always put the press release date at the top
- Start with a good, strong headline, supported by the essence of the story in the very first paragraph – this answers the question "What?"
- Place the company’s name prominently in the opening section – Who?
- Demonstrate that the story is of local or national importance – Where?
- Give a brief indication of company thinking behind the new development – Why?
- Provide information on the timescale of the news story – When?
- Include an editor’s note (or boilerplate), with basic facts such as company background for recipients not familiar with the organisation
- Feature a contact name, and make sure this person is briefed to take calls and provide further details
- Support the name with a telephone and email address
- Keep it short, informative and interesting
Check out our page on what is a press release?.