Press Release Guide
This is a sample press release that can be used as a guide to creating your event's press release.
Headline Announces the News or Event in Title Case, Ideally Under 80 Characters
The subtitle is a little longer synopsis, elaborating on the news in the headline in one to two sentences. A brief summary, the subtitle uses sentence format and case, with standard capitalization and punctuation. This can be in italics.
City, State (Month 1, 2009) -- The lead sentence contains the most important information in 25 words or less. Grab your reader’s attention here by simply stating the news you have to announce. WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, WHO, HOW? Do not assume that your reader has read your headline or summary paragraph; the lead should stand on its own.
A news release, like “the news,” keeps sentences and paragraphs short, about three or four lines per paragraph. The first couple of paragraphs should answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions. The media may take information from a news release to craft a news or feature article or may use information in the release word-for-word, but a news release is not, itself, an article to be reprinted. However construct the release with the fact in mind that many busy reporters may simply cut and paste.
The standard press release is 300 to 800 words and written in a word processing program that checks spelling and grammar before submission, so make sure you get it right! A headline should NEVER be over 150 characters. It is sometimes helpful to write the headline and summary last, to be sure you include the most important news elements first. Use title case in the headline only, capitalizing every word except for prepositions and articles of three characters or less.
The rest of the news release expounds on the information provided in the lead paragraph. It includes quotes from key staff (ie. course designer), competitors or subject matter experts. It contains more details about the event, which can be something unique or a change regarding the event, its history, competitors, the location, etc.
THIS IS NOT AN AD! The tone should be somewhat neutral and OBJECTIVE, not full of hype or text that is typically found in an advertisement. Avoid directly addressing the target audience. The use of "I," "we" and "you" outside of a direct quotation is a flag that the copy is an advertisement rather than a news release. If it is to be treated as news, it should be presented as such.
"The final paragraph of a traditional news release contains the least newsworthy material," said White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino. "But for an online release, it’s typical to restate and summarize the key points with a paragraph like the next one."
For additional information on the EXACT TITLE OF RACE (or for a registration packet) contact Mary Smith or visit www.usacycling.org. You can also include details on extra available features (ie. T-shirts for sale), trademark acknowledgment, etc. here. Always try to keep the release to ONE PAGE with no smaller than 10-point type.
About XYZ Company:
Include a short corporate backgrounder, or "boilerplate," about the rights-owning company or title sponsor before you list the contact person’s name and phone number.
Mary Smith, director of public relations
This Article Updated January 31, 2012 @ 01:40 PM For more information contact: