Press Release Formatting Outline & Sections | Express Writers

Press Release Outline 101: How to Put Together & Write a Solid Online Press Release

by | Oct 3, 2013 | Press Releases | 0 comments

Fast question: how familiar are you with the topic of a press release outline?
If you’re like most marketers, the answer is “not very.”
And, hey, we don’t blame you. Press releases aren’t something that most people dabble in, and the writing of them has fallen out of vogue in recent years.
Recently, though, marketers in a variety of industries have begun to realize how influential a good press release can be, and people are focusing on the press release outline once again.
If you’re interested in learning to outline and create a press release, this article is for you.
Read on!
how to outline a press release

What’s the Purpose of a Press Release?

Press releases are written to help companies information out to their “publics.”
No, that isn’t a typo. Public relations professionals refer to the different audiences as publics, in the plural.
While the content of press releases varies, they information within them often relates to a new service, product or discovery that is important to at least some of these audiences. Because the information in a press release usually reflects on the company in a positive way, they’re not typically considered “hard news” by news outlets. Because of this, a company’s P.R. team is responsible for crafting well-written press releases.

7 Tips for Formatting News-Worthy Press Releases

Press releases follow a specific format and, in order to create great ones, you’ll have to adhere to it. With this in mind, follow these press release outline tips:

1. Learn the formatting outline for a press release

Make things easier for those beleaguered editors, OK?
Public relations professionals want to maintain good relationships with the editors in their communities. Instead of deciding that you’re suddenly going to re-invent the wheel, stick to the tried-and-true format. In addition to making things simpler for the editors, you’ll also have a better chance of having your press release picked up when you do this.
Here are the main sections of a press release, and they’re what you’ll need to stick to when you format yours:

  • Headline
  • Summary paragraph
  • Location and date line
  • Body
  • Company information
  • Contact details

For an example of a press release that includes these sections, check out a recent Express Writers press release on PRWeb.
PRWeb screenshot

Even in this simple screenshot, you can see all the sections mentioned above, and you can see how they work together to create a cohesive format that’s easy for the readers to understand.

2. Abide by best headline practices (keep it short)

Your headline should be short, simple and to the point. Ideally, press release headlines are shorter than 170 characters, including spaces. For best results, include the press release’s primary keyword in the headline. This allows your press release to rank in Google for said keyword, which makes it easier for users to find.

3. Italicize your summary paragraph

The summary paragraph covers the main topic of your release. It should tell audiences why the information is newsworthy. Don’t forget to italicize the entire summary paragraph.

4. Include relevant information in your date line

This component of your press release should include your City/State information (and country if needed), as well as the month, day and year (use the month, day, year format).
It should also include the name of the news release distribution service in parentheses, just like we did in our recent press release:
Location and Date Line Screenshot

5. Add essential details to the body of your press release

The body of your press release outline starts the line below your date line. The body paragraphs should include the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of the topic, as well as the most critical points.
Keep each paragraph limited to one idea, limit them to five sentences in length, and separate them with one blank line between each paragraph.

6. Input your company’s current boilerplate info

This part of your press release is written in standard paragraph format. Here, you should write a short, factual overview of the company.
Using a standard statement is good here because it will save some time and help you standardize the process.
Some companies call this company information paragraph a “boilerplate.” This piece of the press release helps users understand your company, and gives them an appropriate link to locate you online.
Company info screenshot

7. Add the author’s current contact information

Another critical component of the press release outline is the contact details section. This allows interested readers to contact your company for more information, so it’s essential to ensure all included information is current.
For best results, include the phone number and extension of the author, an email address, and a critical social link or two. Resist the temptation to go overboard with information here, as shorter is better in this case.
Contact info

The Best Press Releases Cut to the Point

The reason it’s so important to develop a press release outline is that press releases are designed to offer only the critical information, and an outline helps you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Ideally, your press release should be pared-back and easy for editors to handle. By being as familiar as possible with press releases, the outline of them, and their essential components, you can ensure that the press releases your company publishes are professional, informational, relevant, and useful for your readers.
This is a winning format for press releases in the modern age, and can help you stay on-point with your press releases both now and in the future of your company.
In addition to making your press releases easier for editors to handle, this can also go a long way toward ensuring that your press releases are always breaking news.

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