Press Release Format
Whether you're targeting traditional media outlets or today's innovative new online distribution channels, the prototypical press release format still applies.
Our standard press release submission package—which includes U.S. national, trade, and top-tier newswire distribution—will put your release in front of the right media outlets and journalists who are actively seeking relevant news.
PR Syndication takes pride in delivering exceptional press releases that adhere to the current industry-standard format. Clients may choose our professional press release writing services or full PR strategy services, and will benefit from our efficient project management and hands-on interactive marketing guidance.
Before submitting your news story, please take the time to read the press release format guidelines below. We also encourage you download our press release template. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us, and we'll be happy to guide you through the process.
Press Releases Issued via Newswire Services Should Follow the Current Industry-Standard Format
The placement of your press release contact information will depend on your method of distribution. If you are issuing your news to the media using a traditional method, such as mail or fax, place your contact information at the upper left of the page, preceding the phrase “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.” If you are distributing your press release online, place your contact information at the bottom of the page.
For Immediate Release
If your press release is ready to go live upon distribution, the phrase "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" should appear at the top left of the page, in all caps. If you would prefer journalists to delay publishing your story until a later date, write "HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL [Date and Time]” to signal when your news can be formally announced.
The headline, or title, of a press release tells readers what the announcement is about. It should be 100 to 150 characters long, and no more than one sentence. Make sure that your headline is carefully worded to grab your audience's attention, and strive to be as creative as possible. PR Syndication recommends using title case for headlines—capitalize the first letter of all nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, as well as any prepositions that are four letters or longer. Do not use closing punctuation in headlines, and avoid using exclamation marks (“!”) anywhere in your press release.
A subhead, or subtitle, explains the headline or provides additional relevant details. Subheads are optional; if you are able to convey all pertinent information within the main headline, you do not need to include a subhead.
The dateline informs journalists and readers of the press release's origin, and consists of the city, state and date of issue. It should appear in the first line of body copy, preceding the intro sentence and separated by an en dash with spaces. According to the Associated Press, the dateline should list the city name in all caps, the abbreviated state name, and the full date (including year). For example, PR Syndication would use the following dateline format: TAMPA, Fla., Month XX, 2011 – First sentence of body copy.
Intro and Body Copy
Your press release should begin with a strong introductory paragraph that captures the reader’s attention and contains the information most relevant to your message. Always try to include the “Five Ws” of good journalism—Who, What, When, Where, and Why—when applicable. The intro should summarize the key points of your news release, so that even if readers just skim the first paragraph, they'll still understand the highlights of your message. Your intro should engage your audience, and include a hook to entice them to read further. The rest of your body copy can provide more details as well as a quote from a company executive, partner, or customer.
It is important to write your announcement from the third-person point of view. Just like a news story, a press release should report on an event, circumstance, or occurrence from an objective third-party perspective. Advertising and marketing materials are typically characterized by subjective first-person and second-person copy, so journalists are immediately wary of announcements written from those perspectives. That's why any subjective commentary should be restricted to quotes from a properly attributed source. When writing a news release, always try to think like a journalist.
The boilerplate is the last paragraph of a press release; it briefly describes the company featured within the announcement. A boilerplate often includes a summary of the company's history, industry, practices, and unique value propositions. Add an appropriate subhead—such as "About [Company Name]"—directly above the boilerplate to visually separate it from the body copy.
Length and Links
Ideally, your press release should be 500 to 800 words in length. (For press release distribution purposes and pricing, the total word count includes all text—from the headline right down to the close symbol.) Aim for 500 words if you have a more simple and straightforward announcement; if you have more details to cover, allow up to 800 words. Also, because search algorithms often factor in link density, your word count should determine the total number of hyperlinks within your press release. The general SEO PR rule of thumb is to include one link per 100 words.
End or Close
A press release should always end with the traditional close symbol—"###"—centered at the bottom of the page. This tells journalists and readers that the news release has ended.