Press Release Format

Why does the right press release format matter? Have you wondered why countries, businesses, entertainment brands, sporting clubs, and organizations constantly put out press releases?

Press releases are essential for any corporate body or institutional identity that wants to stay relevant and serve its purpose. Keep reading and we’ll show you how to correctly format a press release.

Recommended: We recommend eReleases if you want a well-written and widely distributed press release to help funnel in more customers and increase revenue for your business.

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Press Release Formats Matter

For a press release format to count, you must skillfully construct the headline, dateline, introduction, body, boilerplate, call-to-action, and media content details; these are the essential parts of a press release. Many journalists note that they won’t bother to read a press release unless the format is correct.

Learn more about what a press release is with our What is a Press Release? guide.

Why is Formatting Important?

The right press release format matters. This is because journalists and other news media professionals are trained to know what to look for when evaluating a press release. One that is not formatted correctly gets passed up.

Benefits of using the right press release format:

  • More likely to get publicized
  • Easier to read
  • Journalist friendly
  • Easily distinguishable

What You Should Know About Formatting a Press Release

There are lots of press releases competing with yours. Therefore, you must ensure your press release is the best by having a message that is easy to distinguish. It is important to pass information across quickly. 

Basic press release format instructions:

  1. Keep it precise and straightforward.
  2. Make your headline irresistible.
  3. Maintain hierarchy by presenting the most important information first and providing details afterwards.
  4. Focus on one issue at a time.
  5. Make a direct call to action.
  6. Offer exciting and relevant quotes.

Getting Your Point Across

After properly formatting your press release, the next step is distribution. Choosing the right distribution outlet is important because it determines how many people learn of your news.

What to do to get your press release noticed:

  1. Format your press release correctly.
  2. Determine whether it is to be made available to the public through traditional methods, online, or through social media.
  3. Consider the angle you want to approach the press release from.
  4. Anticipate the effect you want your press release to have on your audience and capitalize on it.
  5. Create an eye-catching headline. Always remember that you can only get people to look at your story once. The satisfaction they get will dictate their return.
  6. Write in an active voice.
  7. Have each sentence paragraph begin on a firm note
  8. Limit yourself to one issue at a time; ensure you don’t lump issues.
  9. Include quotes relevant to the discussion.
  10. Include contact information.

How Else Formatting Helps

Formatting your press release not only helps journalists distinguish your press release from some other type of news article or op-ed piece, but formatting also helps other media channels quickly find the news they’re seeking.

Imagine a journalist looking for fresh content related to a niche subject. They do a search online and find your press release. Just finding this release and noting that it is okay to report on makes their job much easier which makes it more likely that your news is published.

Tips for reaching more people:

  • Reach out to YouTube influencers who may benefit from your content
  • Post your press releases on social media, encouraging others to share

Final Recap

Using the correct press release format makes it easier for journalists and news outlets to differentiate your press release from other types of media. Proper formatting ensures your press release is more likely to be publicized. Most importantly, proper formatting makes accessing your press release easier.

Read our Best Press Release Distribution Service 2021 review to find the right press release distribution for your business’s specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a press release?

A press release serves the following purposes:

  • To inform the world about an event related to your company.
  • Serves as a medium to clarify ambiguities on a particular issue or controversy
  • To reassure the public of the policies of the organization, company, or institution.
  • To present a perspective on a subject to the public.
  • To launch a brand
  • To promote and sell a particular brand to the public.
  • Announce contents to the public like changes in management, mergers, transfer of ownership rights, or the corporation’s position on an issue of public discussion.

How do I determine the right format for my press release?

Decide who your target audience is. Ask yourself about their academic qualifications, their prevailing mode of communication, and how best they communicate. Next, figure out how they have responded to information in the past. Then, spice up your content while eliminating shortcomings.

Can I integrate other options into my unique press release format?

Yes, if you’ve been running on search engine optimization, you may want to use a paid media service to boost your media coverage. You can also spice your content up with pictures. Equally, you can take a break from doing it yourself and engage a professional’s services for an effective press release.

Why do I need to pay attention to my press release format?

Earlier, we stated that conveying your message is as important as the message itself. Therefore, the better question should be why shouldn’t I pay attention to my press release format if the process is as important as the message?

How do I add/improve my call to action?

Whatever press release format you are using must have a call to action. This is the part where you get to close the sales. Do the following to craft a compelling call to action (CTA).

  • Focus on verbs that characterize active communication.
  • Limit your audience’s options to the ones you present.
  • Use numbers and specific details if possible — specific details portray you as credible to the public.
  • Use words that will target empathy in your audience.
  • Draw the attention of your audience to the issues you intend to solve. Make them realize they play a vital role by responding to your call to action.

What is a press release?

A press release is a brief statement that features a news announcement about — or from — an organization. Companies and other organizations use press releases to announce new product launches, earnings reports, management changes, and more. Press releases make it easier for journalists and news outlets to learn about potential news items to inform their reporting.

How do you end a press release?

The last section of a press release should include your press contact information. Specifically, it should feature your press contact name(s), phone number(s), and email address(es).

How should you structure a press release?

Press releases typically contain six parts organized as follows:

  • The issuing organization’s logo along with its location and the date
  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • A succinct introduction with a strong lede statement
  • Three paragraphs of body content (in descending order of importance)
  • The organization’s boilerplate content
  • The press release contact information

Where do you send press releases?

Organizations distribute their press releases to relevant media contacts. This includes newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television networks, and online news sites, among others.

If you don’t want to spend your time tracking down relevant media outlets, submit your press releases to a press release distribution service like eReleases. Many of these distribution services also will offer to write your press releases. This can save you even more time and help ensure your company issues professionally written releases more likely to appeal to reporters. 

Should I send a press release as a Microsoft Word or PDF file?

Never send a press release as a PDF file. PDFs can prove challenging to format and likely will reduce the chance of a journalist reading and reporting on your news. 

Instead, submit your press release to a press release distribution service as a Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx) file. 

If you plan to send your release directly to a reporter, copy and paste its content directly into your email rather than including an attachment. Why? Most reporters dislike attachments because they can easily clog up their inboxes.

Do press releases work?

Yes, press releases do work. They also provide many benefits.

Besides the obvious benefit of sharing corporate news with media outlets to promote potential coverage, press releases also help businesses improve their search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and brand recognition. In addition, they can help companies increase sales and market share as well as enhance their credibility. 

Press releases also can serve as a tool for mitigating negative media coverage. Public relations firms often use them to help their clients improve their reputations.

Best Press Release Distribution Services

What is a press release?