Press release

Elements

An example of a press release, a Wikipedia press release template prepared by the Wikimedia Foundation communications team

Technically, anything deliberately sent to a reporter or media source is considered a press release: it is information released by the act of being sent to the media. However, public relations professionals often follow a standard format that they believe is efficient and increases their odds of getting the publicity they desire. The format is supposed to help journalists separate press releases from other PR communication methods, such as pitch letters or media advisories. Generally, a PR body consists of 4 to 5 paragraphs with word limit ranging from 400 to 500. [1] However, press releases can be anywhere from 300 to 800 words [2]

As the internet has gained prevalence the way journalists like to be approached has also changed. A format suggested by Kristen Nicole, a former Mashable writer who is now the Senior Managing Editor of SiliconANGLE.com. is sending one sentence as to why this story works for my publication, and 5 bullet points for context. Kristen also recommends pitching writers directly over pitching editors saying:

"I’d recommend pitching the writer first, with an angle specific to their beat. If a case needs to be made to the editor, it can fare better coming from the writer, who’s already had an opportunity to work out an angle with the PR rep. As an editor, I’m more likely to prioritize emails coming from those I have personal relationships with. These have been built over the years from the days when I was the writer presenting to my editors. Starting a new relationship with me as an editor, the most successful pitches have been those offering high profile interviews (editors that still write columns will want to take these for themselves before passing them off to junior writers) or highly specific content, like an original guest contribution." [3]

Some of these common structural elements include:

  • Headline – used to grab the attention of journalists and briefly summarize the news.
  • Dateline – contains the release date and usually the originating city of the press release. If the date listed is after the date that the information was actually sent to the media, then the sender is requesting a news embargo, which journalists are under no obligation to honor.
  • Introduction – first paragraph in a press release, that generally gives basic answers to the questions of who, what, when, where and why.
  • Body – further explanation, statistics, background, or other details relevant to the news.
  • Boilerplate – generally a short "about" section, providing independent background on the issuing company, organization, or individual.
  • Close – in North America, traditionally the symbol "-30-" appears after the boilerplate or body and before the media contact information, indicating to media that the release has ended. A more modern equivalent has been the "###" symbol. In other countries, other means of indicating the end of the release may be used, such as the text "ends".
  • Media contact information – name, phone number, email address, mailing address, or other contact information for the PR or other media relations contact person.

As the Internet has assumed growing prominence in the news cycle, press release writing styles have necessarily evolved. [4] Editors of online newsletters, for instance, often lack the staff to convert traditional press release prose into more readable, print-ready copy. [5]

Other Languages
العربية: بيان صحفي
беларуская: Прэс-рэліз
čeština: Tisková zpráva
한국어: 보도자료
Հայերեն: Կոմյունիկե
Bahasa Indonesia: Siaran pers
ქართული: პრეს-რელიზი
latviešu: Preses relīze
монгол: Пресс-релиз
Nederlands: Persbericht
norsk nynorsk: Pressemelding
русский: Пресс-релиз
Simple English: News release
slovenčina: Tlačová správa
slovenščina: Izjava za javnost
српски / srpski: Саопштење
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Saopštenje
українська: Прес-реліз
粵語: 鱔稿
中文: 新聞稿