101 on press release outline

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

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.

Are you in search of talented writers to help you craft professional press releases? Contact Express Writers. We have trained journalists on staff to write press releases!

how to write a press release format

How to Write a Press Release Format

If you’re marketing a new project, promoting a product, or driving awareness to an upcoming event, learning how to write a press release format is critical. A press release is a treasured tool that, when created correctly, can have a massive impact on the success of your upcoming merger, project, or launch. Unfortunately, however, many writers don’t know how to craft a great press release!

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. While press releases are essential marketing tools, they can be difficult to write. Learning the ins and outs of creating great ones can help you differentiate yourself from the competition and make all your marketing efforts more successful – across the board.

Here’s what you need to know.

how to write a press release format

What’s the Purpose of a Press Release?

Press releases are educational documents that, when done correctly, answer the five W’s: who, what, where, when, why? Designed to inform the press and the public about changes to your company, new and noteworthy products, goods, and services, or major mergers and acquisitions, a press release is a concise, informative piece of media.

Unlike sales copy, press releases don’t try to sell something or approach anything from any angle. Instead, they only lay out the facts, use some quotes from influencers, and move on.

How to Write a Press Release Format: A Step-by-Step Approach

When it comes down to learning how to write a press release format, ALWAYS remember that a press release should be brief, go straight to the heart of the matter, and should contain only the necessary information.

Bear in mind that a press release is meant to intrigue journalists and editors first, and your audience second. The media professionals who will read your press release are not looking for fancy formatting, industry jargon, or shiny graphics. They want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Here’s how to deliver it:

How to Write a Press Release Format: Working from the Top of the Page to the Bottom!

If you’ve never written a press release before, tackling the form can feel intimidating. Here’s a simple, step-by-step breakdown to help you:

At The Top Of The Document

The top of the press release is what people see first. As such, it’s one of the most critical portions of the PR. To make it instantly recognizable, include your brand’s logo and a headline that tells people what the press release is about and what they can expect to learn from it. For best results, your headline should contain target keywords.

  • Headline. The best headlines are brief and to-the-point. The headline should not exceed 65 characters or else you risk losing reader attention and having the headline truncated by Google. Ensure you capitalize each word in the headline – making exceptions for words that have fewer than three characters or prepositions. While a press release is a more informative document than many you might be used to writing, the headline is no less important. This means attractive, attention-grabbing headlines rule, just like everywhere else.
  • Sub-Headline/Summary. Your sub-header or summary should be a maximum of two sentences, and should provide a bit more detail about the “meat” of the press release. Again, keep it brief and intriguing.
  • Contact information. Some press release writers input their contact information directly beneath their company’s logo, in line with the left margin of the document. Others place it after the body copy. This is up to you, just so long as the contact information is highly visible!
  • Release Date. Release date helps people interpret the relevance of your press release. More recent = more relevant. With this in mind, include the release date at the top of your press release, just below the logo, aligned with the right margin of the release.
  • Dateline. The dateline tells readers where and when your press release was published. It goes right before the body text and follows this format: CITY, STATE, Month, Day.

The Body of the Press Release

The body of the press release is the place where you can go into more detail about your chosen topic. For best results, you’ll need to use a minimum of 300 words and a maximum of 600 words. While it’s tempting to dive too deep and tell readers everything there is to know about your event, merger, or product, remind yourself that press releases lay out all the needed information, and nothing else. With this in mind, follow these tips for great body copy:

  • Keep Paragraphs Short. For best results, the paragraphs of your body text should be between 2-4 sentences. No longer.
  • Include Relevant Back-Up Information. If they’re available to you, use statistics, hyperlinks, quotes from professionals, and media content (like videos and images) in your body copy. This will enhance the reader’s experience and make your press release more valuable.
  • Separate Block Quotes. If you do use block quotes, separate them to highlight them and draw them out from the rest of the text. To add depth to the press release, pull in quotes that offer a perspective that’s different from the writer’s.

The Boilerplate Information

Boilerplate information lives at the end of your press release and presents information about your brand or company.

Designed to be used in various press releases, and picked up by journalists to provide additional context about your business, boilerplate information should provide some details about who your brand is, what you do, when the company was founded, and where people can find you. Include relevant social media links to connect people with your business across the web.

End Notation

At the end of your press release, signal to readers that you’re all done with the following symbol, centered in the middle of the page: ###.

After that, you can input a final sentence inviting people to reach out to you or your company head with a name, phone number, and email address.

Common Press Release Mistakes to Avoid

No lesson on how to write a press release format is complete without pointing out the common mistakes to avoid. Some press releases are so full of errors it’s painful to look at them. Believe it or not, but bad press releases will do a lot more harm than good. Here are eight common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Using all Capital Letters. Some writers use all caps to emphasize or draw attention to phrases or keywords, but this is poor form. Instead, use standard sentence case throughout.
  2. Syndicating the Press Release. While syndication used to be a popular press release distribution method, it’s died out in the last several years. Today, you’ll have better results sending your press release to local news agencies.
  3. Including An Email Address Within The Body Of The Press Release. If you include an email address in the body of the press release, you’ll put yourself and your company at risk for receiving spam mail rather than relevant inquiries.
  4. Not Spellchecking. After writing your press release, you need to do the following: proofread, re-read, and re-read once more. Submitting a poorly-written or poorly edited press release is a big no-no, and can be a disaster for your brand.
  5. Being Too Brief. While a good press release should be short and straight to the point, being too brief can lead to an unsatisfying experience for readers. Be sure you answer all relevant questions and provide needed details before moving on.
  6. Running Too Long. You should be able to make your point in 300 – 600 words. Longer than this and you risk losing reader attention.
  7. Using Your Press Release to Advertise. Though press releases are great promotional tools, they are not ads. Press releases inform objectively while ads sell.
  8. Using Hype Flags. You may not even know that you are using hype flags in your press release. Hype flags are too-good-to-be-true product and service claims that turn readers off and harm the authority of your press release.

The Outstanding Press Release: Every Brand’s Secret Weapon

The better you get at writing press releases, the more efficiently you’ll be able to help your brand stand out and gain media attention down the road. While a press release can feel intimidating, learning the structure and format of a great press release is just one more thing that will allow you to further your brand and boost your relevance.

Looking for a team of skilled professionals to help you write our press release? Look no further than the professional press release writers here at Express Writers!

how to write a press release for a movie

How to Write a Press Release for a Movie

Need to boost your press and learn how to write a press release for a movie?

You’re in the right place – and the right direction. A well-written press release for a movie will significantly ramp up its viewership by helping spark interest in its production or by generating media buzz about a particular aspect of the film such as a reclusive indie director, a controversial actress playing a cameo role, or an ingeniously crafted screenplay. But, you have to know how to write a press release for a movie.

Like everything else these days, a movie—however exquisitely produced or complemented by big-name stars—will make a terrible mistake if it solely relies on its internal merits to boost its bottom line. In fact, a few critically acclaimed films performed poorly in the box office, while movies with less artistic or technical credentials unexpectedly raked in millions of mind-blowing dollars in gross sales. In many cases, well-written press releases spell the difference between a movie that attracts high viewership and one that miserably misses its revenue targets.

Knowing the secrets of the trade in how to write a press release for a movie will boost your PR readability and power.

How to Write a Press Release for a Movie

Raindance, an international organization of filmmakers, has recognized the importance of marketing and public relations to a film’s success, clearly stating that a movie—even one that has bagged major cinematic awards—is worthless without a viewing audience.

This is from an organization that helps train directors such as Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins), Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) and David Yates (Harry Potter), as well as produce brilliant and strongly marketed films such as Pulp Fiction and The Blair Witch Project.


Press Releases vs. Ad Copies

That said, what factors should you consider when how to write a press release for a movie? Press releases represent the main tool outside advertising, which movie publicists and marketers can use to generate viewer interest about a film. Unlike true-blue ads, press releases are deemed more objective and are far more affordable.

Strictly speaking, press releases are pseudo news articles that aim to showcase the newsworthiness of an event, service or product—a film in this case—to a decision maker in media such as a reporter or an editor. Failing to pique the interest of these decision makers will prevent the publication of the press release in credible and widely used channels such as established newspapers and online media portals.  Compare the impact of a press release published in The New York Times and the effect of one just wallowing among thousands being hosted by a PR aggregator, and you can see the importance of why press releases should be written and deployed by trained professionals. You can read a related post to get more insight on how to create effective press releases.

Six Key PR Writing Tips for Films

As has been established, the process of writing and distributing press releases is very important in the box office success of a newly produced movie. If you are tasked to create one, here are a few tips to help you achieve your PR objectives:

1. Recognize your role.
Trained press release writers for films are aware of the potential impact of their output on the overall profitability of the movie they are handling. Remember that press releases can backfire instead of propelling a movie’s gross receipts, and failing to get published on widely read channels is not the worst outcome a press release can generate. At their worst, badly written or deployed press releases can create negative publicity for a movie, which often results to a major dent in its box office revenues. Poorly crafted press releases can also damage the PR agency’s reputation and—knock on wood—ruin your credential as a press release writer.  The key is to take your role seriously and to deftly navigate the potholes that block the development of good, effective press releases.

2. Package the message.
A movie has a message. For PR purposes, the message could be one that is not intrinsic in the film but in the process of making it. However, the best message a movie can communicate is the movie itself. This means that writers tasked to craft a press release for a movie should have a panoramic view (pun intended) of the material whenever possible, including attendance at prescreening sessions whenever there is one. If there are limited prescreening sessions, make do with the information the filmmakers are willing to share and use your ingenuity to package the message. To do this, you can showcase the film’s major draw such as its director, cast, story, or special effects.

Remember to be especially creative, original and clever when deciding on the press release’s title. The first few sentences should also deliver your message in a way that readily catches viewer attention and entices readers to wait for the film’s theatrical release in eager anticipation. If you are new in the trade, it’s a great idea to snoop around the Internet for excellent press releases for films that you can use as models.

3. Follow the standard formats.
Press releases for films generally conform to a more or less standard template and it’s good practice to follow industry-accepted formats in knowing how to write a press release for a movie. Doing so not only reflects professionalism but also lends the press release with a sense of credibility. Commonly, a press release for a movie has the following major elements:

  • Company name and contact info of press release agency
  • Date of PR publication (this can either be for immediate release or for a specified date)
  • Press release title
  • Location and date of the press release (usually a major city followed by a dash, the date, and a final dash)
  • Press release body (should not only showcase the film’s major merits but answer the standard questions of Who, What, Where, When, Why and How in the journalism parlance)
  • Boilerplate (this is where information about related companies — the press release agency and the film outfit, for examples—are given)

4. Whet your audience’s appetite.
Movies are sensory treats. Leaving too much to the imagination by just submitting a text-based material to PR channels is rarely a good thing. Perk up your press release with production stills, video clips, or poster images to ignite anticipation among potential viewers.

5. Review the final output.
Employ a proofreader or editor to review the final iteration of your press release. This is a critical step for how to write a press release for a movie, prior to submission to PR and media channels and should never be bypassed.  Grammatical and factual errors greatly erode a press release’s credibility and its intended positive impact. At worst, errors can put your agency and your reputation as a writer in a bad light, which can cause your client portfolio to suddenly shrink. At the very least, you should review your own work thoroughly and become your greatest critic before submitting your press release.

6. Deploy your message.
Once you get a go signal from your editor (or if you already feel highly confident about your work), you can distribute the press release to the appropriate channels. Note the term “appropriate.” Similar to a game of chess, strategically deploying your pieces means a higher likelihood of winning. In the PR world, haphazard deployment often results to useless but cost-incurring efforts.

Next is distribution, which we’ll recap later. Be smart and use distribution that is high quality, relevant, and targeted. Distributing a press release for a movie to a food magazine will hardly gain traction for your campaign. However, things could be different if the film strongly uses food as a symbol or its main cinematic platform. Strongly targeting niche magazines, popular blogs and online portals that focus on food and the culinary arts can then be very powerful.

Need great press releases? Let our pro team of PR journalists help you today. Check out our PR services in the Content Shop!

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