Structure of a Press Release

Now you know how to go about writing your press release and what it should look like. Hopefully, what you should have taken away from this is that the press release’s success will hinge on the event and the newsworthy-nature of what it is covering. It is not your job in the text itself to make that sound exciting and instead you are simply aiming to convey information.

You do this using an objective, detached tone and you do so using AP style guidelines. And you’ll also adhere to this format:

 

Release

If you take a look at some examples of press releases, you’ll probably notice that a lot of them begin with the text ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’. What this is telling us, is that the news that is being shared in said press release can be published immediately. That means there is no embargo.

But if your press release does have an embargo, then the text should read something like so:

UNDER EMBARGO Until June 29th 2018 at 16:00PST

Another way to write this is:

HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL JUNE 29th at 16:00PST

copyright: momius @ fotolia.com
copyright: momius @ fotolia.com
Note that there should be a time and a date on your embargo. Note as well that you also need to include the timezone. In other words, there can be zero uncertainty about when this news is allowed to go live. This is incredibly important in the digital age.

The text will usually be in capitals and can be either in the center of the page or to the left. It should be smaller than the header. It will sometimes be italicized. If you are unsure and you are submitting the paper to a press release site, then visit the press release site in question and see what guidelines the others use there.

 

Headline

The headline should be the largest and most apparent thing on your page. Often it will use title case or be entirely capitalized. We already discussed the objective of this text: to summarize the entire story as concisely as possible.

 

Subheading

A subheader allows you to add a little extra detail to your heading and to explain the context or the implications of that opening statement. This is optional. It might appear in the center underneath the title, or it might appear above the main text to the left. Don’t let this be longer than the headline and don’t repeat the same information.

 

Date

copyright: vege @ fotolia.com
copyright: vege @ fotolia.com
It’s useful to share the date of the story itself and if relevant, the ‘location’. Of course information doesn’t have a location but this might mean sharing where the company is based for instance, or what region the information affects.

This is useful for two reasons: it tells the reader that the news is still relevant and not out-of-date and it lets them know if it is local.

 

Main text

Now comes the main text, which you recall puts all key information in that opening sentence. All key details should go in the first details, think: where, when, who, what and why. Use short paragraphs.

 

Boilerplate

After the main body of the story, you will normally see a company sharing some information about itself. It is called boilerplate because it is usually a generic passage that can be found on a range of different documents and materials. You will likely include this very same passage of text on your website, in leaflets etc. So spend some time writing a great paragraph-long summary of your organization and then have that to hand for future projects.

 

Contact details

Provide contact details. These are not necessarily the contact details of the business. Rather, the priority here is to give contact details so that the writer reading the press release can reach out to find out more about this story. That means you might have a ‘press officer’ or another named individual in your organization to receive this correspondence.

 

Font and Size

It is normal to use Times New Roman with 12-point font.