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The Anatomy of a Press Release

A press release should include the following information, generally in the following order.

Click here to view a Corporate Press Release that demonstrates the above elements, and common layout (pdf format).

Logo - If you have a company logo it should appear at the top of the page.

Identifier - Simply identifies the document as either "PRESS RELEASE" or "NEWS RELEASE". Both are acceptable.

Release Information - Simply identifies when the information is meant to release. Most commonly it will be "For Immediate Release".

Contact Information - hould include a name, title, phone number, and email

Headline - Headline Here (this should be similar to a headline you read in the newspaper, it should be short and grab attention. This is often the most important aspect of the release. If a headline doesn't grab a writer's attention - they may not read the rest of the release.

Sub-Head - a little longer than the headline and usually rounds out the information found in headline with a little more information. The sub-head is optional.

Place Line - The Place line identifies where the story is coming from. This is very important information for a reporter. If the reporter is based in San Francisco and the story is from Idaho, and covers a local news issue - they will probably not be interested. But if it's from San Francisco, they will most likely read on.

Date Line - Simply lets the reporter know when the release was issued.

Lead Paragraph - aragraph one is the information that is meant to hook the reader (hopefully a journalist). This paragraph included the five W's (who, what, when, where, why). It should present information in a manner that is compelling, and thus makes the reader want to read more. It should include the shop name and URL.

Body - What typically follow the lead paragraph are three to five paragraphs - the body of the release itself. The most important information is placed in the first paragraphs, and it gets less important as you continue towards the end. This is known as an inverted pyramid. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Think of an upside down pyramid, the shape represents the information you are trying to explain. The width of the pyramid directly relates to the weight of the material - its importance. So, the most important info goes at the top, and the least at the bottom. There is a very logical reason for this writing style: editing. When an editor needs to cut a story they simply cut from the bottom up. Since the least pertinent info is at the bottom - there is little lost.

The body should include a quote or two about the subject matter from someone in the company, an expert in the field, or a client.

The last paragraph should wrap up the story with contact information.

Boilerplate - This is a description of you company that goes at the end of your release. It is usually identified with a header. For instance "About". The information that follows is the company history, and services. Reporters look for this to get a quick understanding of what exactly your company does.

End Mark - All press release end with a standard ### or -end-. If a press release is more than one page the end of the first page should have be noted with -more- at the bottom. Note: in general a press release should be kept to one page when possible (400-600 words).

More Information - You can add an editor's note after the end mark. Anything that follows the standard ### is meant to be unprinted material.

Next: New Product PR Template