Follow that Format!

Follow that Format!

Writing your press release

Now that you’ve taken the time to plan your PR campaign, it’s time to sit down and craft your first news piece. Follow the standard format for a press release. Some media outlets may vary in their format preferences, so be proactive and check for submission guidelines online.

Contact Information. As a general rule of thumb, place contact information at the top left of the page (some formats place it at the end of the article.) List contact, company name, phone(s), email, and web information flush left. The format is similar to a memo format (i.e., Contact: Joe Smith).

 Release Date.  At the top right, in all caps indicate FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or FOR RELEASE ON [DATE] to inform the recipient to release the news as soon as possible or hold it for a future date.

Headline. Space about a third of the way down the page. Type and center your attention-grabbing headline (all caps) and add a centered subtitle if needed (upper and lower case) right below the headline.

Body Text. Body text should be set flush left and follow two spaces below the headline. Some media prefer double-spacing to allow them room to edit on paper. Begin your first paragraph of body text with your (italicized) city, state or country, date and a dash. If the event took place in a different location, use the most sensible location for your press release. Your first sentence should follow on that line and begin with a statement that answers the standard journalistic questions “who, what, where, when, why, or how.” Your first line would appear like this: Smalltown, State, November 12, 2010 – Joe Smith, Senior V.P. of Adesso Company was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from The International Club on Friday, November 6 at their annual awards dinner held at the Newtown Hotel.

Keep it Short. Use short, five to six sentence paragraphs, with a space between paragraphs. When crafting your release, list information from most to least important. For your last paragraph, include a “boilerplate” statement about your company. This can be a brief mention of services or products offered, a mission or vision statement, or other consistent message you wish to share. Remember, just the facts!

The End. Center and type # # # after the last paragraph to indicate the end of the release. Below that, you can add a short note to contact you with questions or for more information.

Mail It. Be sure that your press release is in a standard, easily opened format if you send it by email, and copy and paste the release directly into the email to ensure it can be read. A separate handwritten note with a mailed press release, or a few introductory sentences on an email are a nice touch.