Press Release Outline

by | Jan 4, 2017

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If you’re looking for a quick introduction to proper press release format, look no further. This free press release outline goes over each news release component you’ll want to include, explaining what they are and what goes in each section.

Press Release Components

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Include this at the top of all of your press releases. It lets journalists know they can publish stories about your news at any time. If you’re sending advanced news and don’t want journalists to share it until a specific date, that’s called an “embargo.”

In that case, you’ll want to include the embargo information here. You can simply swap “For Immediate Release” for something like “Embargoed until January 1, 2017, 8:00 a.m.” However, embargoes should be used rarely (some journalists say “never,” and you may even run into one or two who won’t honor them). And ideally only use them when manually distributing to select media outlets.

Press Release Headline — Give your press release a title. Make it catchy, but more importantly, make your news angle clear. If you plan to distribute your press release online, also make sure your headline is search engine optimized. To learn more, read my basic tips for press release headlines or explore a collection of articles and resources I put together on writing better press release headlines.

Summary or Subheading — This optional press release component is sometimes used on press release distribution sites, like PRWeb, to let you expand upon your headline before the reader dives into the body of your news release. In some cases, this summary will display in search engine results as the page’s description.

Dateline — This is simply where you’ll include the news release date and city where you or your client is based (or where the news is relevant). Follow AP style guidelines for state abbreviations.

Lede / Introduction — This is the first paragraph of your press release, immediately following the dateline (beginning on the same line of the release). It should include the most important information about your news, ideally answering the questions Who?, What?, When?, Why?, and Where?

Body — The bulk of your press release is the rest of the body. This is all the supporting information after you’ve covered the essentials in your lede. Write your press release copy using inverted pyramid style. You’ve already started with the most important details. Now work backwards to things that are still important though not essential, followed by additional info that it might be nice for a journalist to have even if they don’t actually need it for the story.

Quote — Somewhere in the body of your press release, you’ll want to include a quote from your client or a key staff member of your company. This quote should not be promotional in any way. It’s a quote relevant to the news angle, not a testimonial.

Call-to-Action — Close out the body of your press release by inviting journalists to contact you in some way for more information. If you’re linking them to additional background, such as a media kit for a new product launch, this would be the place to include that.

Boilerplate — Your news release’s boilerplate is a backgrounder or “About Us” paragraph about your, or your client’s, company. What do you do? How long have you been in business? Have you won any industry awards? Include background relevant to your news angle, but also information that adds credibility to your company and makes you someone the media feels is worth covering.

Media Contact Info — Always include contact information for your media relations representative, whether this is an in-house staff member or an external firm handling media inquiries on your behalf. This should include their name and title, a phone number (always), an email address, the company’s website address, and ideally a physical or mailing address as well. Make it easy for journalists to reach out to get clarification from you or set up interviews.

### (or – More -) — Put the ### symbol at the end of your release to signal to the reader that they’ve reached the end. If your press release goes to a second page, put – More – at the end of the first page instead, then put your closing symbol on the second page.

Addenda — At the end of your press release, note any addenda or enclosures you’re including. This could be high resolution photos, access to a downloadable media kit, or a product spec fact sheet.

Ready to see these press release components all put together? Check out my free basic press release template, and use it as a model for your future news releases.

Download This Free Press Release Outline

Click the button below to download a .pdf version of this press release outline to use when writing your own releases or training staff to write press releases for your company.