Did you ever read a press release and think to yourself, something’s missing? Those unfulfilled feelings are likely a byproduct of not utilizing the proper press release format.
That’s why understanding the importance of press release format is pivotal in maximizing the effectiveness of a company’s press release distribution to not only reach their target audience, but the media as well.
Properly-formatted press releases address the most important information while infusing a level of professionalism. This alone will help your company break through the noise and stand out among your competitors.
In 2021 and beyond, press releases that include newsworthy and relevant content can help small and midsize businesses drive more traffic, improve SEO, and ultimately improve their bottom line.
As an industry leader in press release distribution, our Media and Marketing experts have compiled a list of the necessary components that work together to effectively format a press release.
The dateline includes the location when the press release was published and the date. The location can be important if you want to get local news pickups. Your dateline will usually look like this: NEW YORK, NY, July 14, 2021.
For immediate release or an embargo date
Not all press releases contain a release date, but if you decide to include one, put it below your logo on the left margin. This should either say “For Immediate Release”, or “FOR RELEASE ON [Date] AT [Time]”. Also include the time zone, such as EST, if it’s important.
Did you know the average internet user will read 80 percent of headlines? That’s why crafting compelling headlines is of utmost importance when formatting a press release.
Think of it as a reader’s first impression. If they’re intrigued by your headline, they’ll likely click to learn more. If the headline falls flat, they’ll keep scrolling.
Always make sure your headline is worth clicking.
Subhead or summary
This gives the reader more information about the press release’s headline and also summarizes what people can expect to learn if they read the press release in its entirety.
This should offer the most important facts related to the topic of the press release. The data is usually referred to as the 5Ws + How of journalism:
Use this as a checklist to make sure nothing’s left out.
When it comes to press release format, using the inverted pyramid is a great way to ensure the most important information is included.
The inverted pyramid is broad at the top with the point at the bottom.
The headline, subhead, and first paragraph should include the most important information. Less important information will go below it. Most press releases are around three to four paragraphs and include about 400 to 500 words.
The second paragraph provides more details about the topic of the release, as well as an image, video, facts, figures, and statistics to show why your release is worth paying attention to.
In the third paragraph, you can include more of this data, and/or quotes from topic experts in your company who will provide additional reasons as to why your information is newsworthy and how it relates to your niche or industry.
You should have at least one high-quality image or video in your press release to gain attention. Press releases that contain images and/or video are far more likely to get media pickups than ones that don’t.
Quotes have the power to solidify the authenticity of your press release and drive home the message you’re trying to articulate. Include a quote from a senior executive in your company or industry expert to show you’re a reliable and knowledgeable resource journalists can turn to.
Every press release you distribute should have a defined goal. Some examples include but aren’t limited to:
Once you’ve determined a goal, treat it as your North Star to guide your messaging.
Your call-to-action should match your goal. For example, if you want subscribers, you might say, “Visit URL to download your free ebook about XYZ topic.”
Keep it simple and concise.
The boilerplate of your press release is the final paragraph. This section of the press release shares information about your company, what it does, and how people can get in contact with you, especially if they want more information about the topic of your press release.
In your boilerplate, you can link to your media center so journalists can learn more about you. In your call-to-action, use a custom URL for a landing page you’ve created to help track the success of the press release.
And, don’t forget, when including links in a press release, make sure the anchor text is a valuable SEO keyword.
Link relevancy can improve the likelihood of both pieces of content ranking for search queries regarding those topics.
At the end of your press release, include your contact information which should look something like this:
Contact: Mary Smith
Phone: (123) 456-7890
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