Quick Steps on What to Include in a Press Release
- A compelling headline/e-mail subject header.
- The first paragraph answers the five W’s and one H questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Electronic contact information including an e-mail address and phone number for the press contact, and company website address. Journalists are always working on deadline and will often opt to call a company contact rather than wait for a reply by e-mail.
- Mention key clients or endorsement from ‘non-biased’ sources like university professors. You should have permission from those sources to use their remarks in your press release. You can also mention independent studies to substantiate the claims you make in your press release.
- A short paragraph at the end of the release containing background information about the company.
Press Release Outline
This includes company logo as a visual reminder of your organization. Centered at the top of your press release, write “PRESS RELEASE” in Times Roman font 72 point. Below that to the left, write “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OR Embargoed Until: ( date).” A few lines below, to the left again, include your name, company name, all contact information including address, phone number, cell phone, fax number, email address and company website URL.
The headline is the most important section of your press release and should be brief and attention grabbing. All words capitalized except for prepositions, articles, and most words three letters or fewer. However, if you are sending your press release by email, then a headline using a combination of lower case and capital letters is more appropriate. Do not write the headline in all capital letters because it is harder to read. Your headline is centered a few lines below the header, and appears in a bigger typeface than the rest of the press release. The headline is that last part of the press release that you write.
Subheads, also known as sluglines, give you the opportunity to flesh out your angle and further hook the reader.
Main Body – Opening Paragraph
The first paragraph of your press release covers the five W’s and one H: who, what, where, when, why and how. Start off by writing your city and the date. The first sentence should be a summary of the story. Get your key points across to catch the journalist’s attention or they may not read further. If your press release is targeted to specific publications, write as if you are speaking directly to publication readers – check out your target publication for an appropriate style.
Main Body – Quotes or Other Information
Expand on the details. The journalist will want to know what is unique or new about your story and why it will appeal to their readers. Add information that substantiates the claims you made in your headlines and opening paragraph. Use quotes to illustrate your story and to add credibility. When using quotes, quote from pertinent individuals such as the company’s president, person who created the product or service, or a satisfied customer from a notable company. Always make sure you get permission to use the quote. You could also use bullet points to highlight points about your story.
Call to Action
Include a call to action as a part of your news to direct the reader to the action you would like them to take. Include the necessary information for your target audience to contact you.
The final paragraphs of your press release include information about your company (background information, when it was launched, achievements and so on), product, service, and contact information. Signal the end of your press release with ### centered directly underneath the last line of the release. This is standard practice.