Notified Blog

How to Format a Press Release

Struggling to get the attention your news deserves? It could be that your press release formatting is holding you back.

Besides telling a powerful story (the content itself), proper press release formatting helps you create an impactful release.

In this blog, we’ll look at how to format a press release and highlight the best practices to help you drive coverage!

How to Format a Press Release: Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

Journalists receive many releases each day from public relations pros. And to stand out from the noise, it's necessary to ensure your news is properly formatted.

Correct formatting not only makes your story more attractive and easier to follow, but it also increases the chances of grabbing a reporter’s attention.

Here are a few more reasons why proper formatting is so essential:

  1. First Impression. A good first impression is crucial for journalists. If it's a massive block of text, they may ignore it. Keep it concise and break up the text into paragraphs.

  2. Readability. Journalists are busy. If your press release is a puzzle, they won't bother. Keep it organized using the inverted pyramid writing style. Help them quickly get the important details.

  3. Branding. Make sure your press releases are consistent (i.e. logo, boilerplate, contact info etc.) It helps build relationships with journalists who will get to know your brand and trust you.

To ensure your stories make a lasting impact, let's dive into the key elements of press release formatting.

How to Format a Press Release: Key Elements

These elements include the headline, subheading, body content, quotes, multimedia, contact information and boilerplate.

Let's explore each of these elements in detail.

Headline and Subheading Formatting

The headline is the first thing journalists and readers see, so it's crucial to make it eye-catching.

Follow these formatting guidelines to create an impactful headline:

  1. Keep It Short and Compelling. Aim for a headline that is no more than 80 characters long. Use action verbs, strong adjectives and numbers to make it engaging and informative.

  2. Use Title Case. Capitalize the first letter of each major word in the headline while excluding articles, conjunctions and prepositions.

  3. Avoid Excessive Punctuation. Avoid using multiple exclamation marks or excessive punctuation that may make your headline appear unprofessional.

The subheading, also known as the “dek,” provides additional context and supports the headline. It should be written in sentence case and give a summary of the press release.

Body Content Formatting

The body content is where you provide the details of your story.

To ensure it’s easily readable, follow these formatting tips:

  1. Use Short Paragraphs. Break your content into short paragraphs to improve readability. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea and contain no more than 3-4 sentences.

  2. Include Subheadings. Divide your writing into sections with subheadings. It makes it easy for people to scan and find what they want to read.

  3. Use Bullet Points and Numbered Lists. When listing key points or important information, consider using bullet points or numbered lists.

Formatting Quotes and Attributions

Quotes and attributions add credibility and build trust with your company/organization.

When adding quotes, it's important to format press releases correctly by:

  1. Using Quotation Marks. Enclose quotes within double quotation marks to indicate direct speech or statements.

  2. Attributing Quotes. Always attribute quotes to the appropriate person or source. Include the full name, title and affiliation of the person being quoted.

  3. Separating Quotes. Place each quote on a new line to make it visually distinct from the surrounding text. This formatting technique makes quotes more noticeable and easier to read.

Including Multimedia in Press Releases

Adding multimedia (Media Snippets) such as images, videos or infographics can significantly increase the impact of your press release.

Here are some guidelines for including multimedia:

  1. Pick High-Quality Visuals. Low-quality images make your press release less credible.

  2. Give Captions and Descriptions. Include captions or descriptions for any multimedia elements you include. Captions provide context and help journalists understand the relevance of the visual.

  3. Embed Multimedia. Put pictures or videos in your press release, but make sure they don't mess up the reading flow. Use the right format to keep them separate from the text.

Contact Information and Boilerplate Formatting

Including contact information is essential for journalists who may have follow-up questions or require additional information.

Here's how to format the contact information section:

  1. Provide Complete Contact Details. Include the name, title, email address, phone number and any other relevant contact information for the person journalists should reach out to.

  2. Separate Contact Information. Put your contact info at the end, with a line break from the main text. It makes it easy for people to find and reach out.

  3. Create a Boilerplate. Keep a short paragraph about your organization in every press release. Make it look the same each time to strengthen brand recognition.

In Review: How to Format a Press Release

By following the best practices outlined in this blog, you'll be well-equipped to create releases that stand out from the crowd.

But remember – it’s also the quality of your story (the content itself) that dictates whether or not a journalist wants to learn more.

When it comes to press release formatting, pay attention to the headline, subheading, body content, quotes and attributions, multimedia, contact information and boilerplate. Proofread and edit your press releases for errors and ensure consistency throughout.

With the art of proper formatting mastered, you'll increase the likelihood of your releases driving attention and engagement!

Share Your Stories Using GlobeNewswire by Notified

A leader in press release distribution, GlobeNewswire reaches 158 countries in 35 languages and lets you target your news to relevant journalists and media outlets based on geography, industry and media type - using over 1,000 newslines!

Some of GlobeNewswire’s top features include:

  • Media Snippets - Embed interactive elements directly into your release, boosting engagement.

  • Newswire Analytics - Analyze and measure the impact of your releases and get real-time data on views, social media shares, multimedia engagement and link click-throughs.

  • AI Press Release Generator – Quickly and securely create a first draft of your next release.

If you're looking to boost visibility and engage your target audience, contact us today to learn more!

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