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Press Releases: Make Sure Yours Includes These 6 Essentials

A press release is the best way for your company to notify the media, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders of essential organizational news. Typically, a press release is concise — less than 500 words —  and focused on the facts, with no fluffy or promotional language.

If you need to draft a press release, you’ll want to understand the elements to include. A comprehensive press release will receive media attention from networks worldwide, so it’s critical to ensure yours is professional and precise.

Here are six essential elements to include in your press release.

1. Contact Information

After you issue a press release, journalists and media outlets might want to contact you for more information or to obtain a quote from your executive leadership team. You’ll want to include the contact information of the individual best positioned to answer questions about the contents of your press release. 

If your press release discusses any other companies, make sure to include their relevant contact details, too. That way, journalists will know who to call if they have questions. 

For instance, in this press release, the content discusses two companies. Contact details are provided for both organizations, including the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of relevant stakeholders.

2. Release Date

Any press release should include the date in the upper left corner of the document. Since press releases can be found through multiple sources, you’ll want to ensure journalists and other readers understand that your press release is current. Otherwise, they may assume that the report is outdated.

Remember, a press release can take several hours (or weeks) to work through the media. While your press release may be immediately available, it may not catch much attention at first, especially if it isn’t a breaking news story or doesn’t provide information that investors, customers, or the public can significantly benefit from.

3. A Headline

Your press release’s headline is one of the most important parts of your document. While you want to ensure that the headline isn’t overly sensational, it doesn’t have to be dry. Make sure that it summarizes the gist of your press release in just a few words, and use action verbs or other descriptive language to strengthen its impact.

The headline should be directly below the date of the press release. Ideally, it should be in bold lettering, in a larger font than the rest of the content.

4. A Lead Paragraph

Your lead paragraph captures the essence of the press release. It summarizes what happened, who was involved, and why the event is significant. For example, if you’re creating a press release for a company’s third-quarter financial results, you’ll include a brief paragraph describing the results, including any specifics you’d like to highlight.

A press release’s lead paragraph is one of the most critical parts of the press release. If it doesn’t contain enough information about the event, a journalist must contact the appropriate people listed on the document to obtain more details — which takes time from their busy day.

5. Quotes

Most press releases include quotes. If possible, you should provide quotes to give journalists and other media representatives extra material to include in any news articles they write about your press release. A quote can also give additional substance to the article, making it more compelling to the audience.

Quotes shouldn’t directly summarize the subject of your press release. Instead, they should provide context to support the information in the release. For example, this press release includes a quote from a singer who will be part of an international music program. 

6. Boilerplate Content

Boilerplate content is the final part of a press release. It is generally less than 100 words and includes standard information about your company, such as its location, any accolades received, and general background details. 

Most companies use the same boilerplate content in all of their press releases but will update it to include relevant information when necessary.

If several different companies are mentioned throughout the press release, it’s critical to include boilerplate content for each one. That ensures journalists receive the correct information about the organizations to use in any stories they write based on the press release.

For instance, in this press release, you’ll notice that boilerplate content for two different organizations appears at the end of the text.

Ensure Your Press Release Includes All Critical Elements

A press release that doesn’t include all the essential elements, including contact details, a headline, a summary, and boilerplate content, may confuse journalists and other readers. The best practice is to model your press release to include all the pertinent details. That way, you’ll ensure your press release is professional and direct.

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