Formatting The Press Release What is a Press Release? Press releases are official statements issued by companies and organizations to print, television and radio media. It is a pseudo-news story, written in third person, that seeks to demonstrate to a reporter, newspaper, news service, or editor (the “audience”), the newsworthiness of a particular person, event, service or product. Writing quality press releases is a process requiring skill and experience. Because every word of a press release may be scrutinized, careful wording is essential. Six Tips for Writing a Press Release 1. Gather and Organize Your Facts A simple rule is to find answers to the 5Ws of an event: who, what, when, where, and why. You should also include the 'how' as well. 2. Identify Your Story's Angle (spin the truth) A good story angle must be: the most important fact in your story timely unique, newsworthy or contrary to industry norms and trends presented in the first paragraph as well as in the headline of your press release 3. Create a Catchy Headline Keep the headline short and simple using less than ten words. It should convey the key point raised in the opening paragraph in a light-hearted manner that catches the audience’s attention. 4. Write in Third-Person Voice A press release must be presented objectively from a third person point of view. Some of the guidelines are: do not use any sales pitches in your press release do not use "you", "I", "we“, and "us" – instead, use "he“, “she”, and "they" do provide references to any statistics, facts and figures mentioned in the press release do not express personal opinions, unless they are done in quotations do draw conclusions from facts and statistics only - not general opinion (i.e. not what people believe) 5. Provide Quotations Quotations are necessary in press releases because they show the importance and relevance of the story. Quotations also add a trustworthy voice to the press release. 6. Provide Additional Background Information The press release should end with background information on the company and/or newsmakers. It should also end with details on who to contact for further information. Formatting the Press Release Sample Template of a Press Release Company Logo <enter> Contact Name: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Telephone #: Date Cell Phone #: Email Address: <enter> HEADLINE Subhead <enter> Lead Paragraph <enter> Body Paragraph 1 <enter> Body Paragraph 2 <enter> Body Paragraph 3 <enter> Body Paragraph 4 <enter> Boilerplate Paragraph <enter> ### <enter> Last Line Company Logo The company logo should be centred at the top of the page. Contact Information The contact person’s name, telephone number, cell phone number, and email address should appear on the left-hand side of the page, each on a separate line. For Immediate Release The words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should appear on the right-hand side of the page, in all upper case letters, on the same line as the contact’s name. Date The date should appear on the right-hand side of the page, on the same line as the telephone number, underneath FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Headline The headline is centred in all upper case letters. This line states your most exciting news, finding, or announcement in just a few words. It should address your story angle It should imitate the headlines you see in the newspaper. It must catch the audience’s attention. It should make the main idea clear. Subhead The subhead is centred below the headline, in both upper and lower case letters. It gives the opportunity to further hook the audience, without stepping on the excitement of the press release headline. Lead Paragraph This first paragraph includes the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the story. Sometimes, this lead paragraph is the only thing that is read, so it needs to hook the audience right away. This paragraph is only for facts – no hype, no sell – just the facts. Your story angle should also be implied in this paragraph. The Body Paragraphs The body of the press release is usually 4 or 5 short paragraphs long. This is where more information is provided. It should include the use of a number of quotations. The body paragraphs should support whatever claims were made in the lead paragraph and headline. Boilerplate Paragraph This is the last full paragraph. This appears just before the end of the press release (the ###s borderline). The boilerplate includes one or two sentences to describe your company and what you do. ### Borderline The ###s (three # signs) are centred on the page. Once they are typed out and you have pressed ‘enter’, they will form a borderline. This borderline indicates the end of the press release. Include this after the boilerplate paragraph. Last Line The very last line of the press release appears after the ### borderline. This line should indicate how to find further information – contact name, telephone number, cell phone number, and/or email address.
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