06 October 2009

How to Write a Press Release

by Cheryl Santa Maria

If you're a working writer, freelancing, chances are you'll have to write a press release at some point. If you're buckling under the fear of completing such a task, fear not. I've put together a press release template and included a sample below but first, a bit of background:

A press release is a short, news-style article, usually commissioned by a company or an organization. Its purpose is to attract positive attention towards a new product/event/company and the release, which sent out to various media outlets, is a simple and effective way to advertise. Promoting via press release is common practice among PR types who will often hire a writer (like you) to compose something succinct on their behalf.

Press releases are fairly easy to write because they're formulaic in structure. That being said, you must also possess basic writing skills. A successful press release contains captivating text that is grammatically correct.

Press Release Template


Contact: Your name
Name of your organization
Phone and fax numbers
Email, address, website
Any other relevant contact information

Attention-Grabbing Headline

City, state/province, date - First paragraph - list the who, what, where when and why in a couple of short sentences.

Body – Give more detailed information about the product/company/event. This is where you will elaborate on the items mentioned in the opening paragraph. Bonus points if you include quotes of praise from relevant people and statistics in your favour.

Try to keep your press release under one page. If you need more space write

- more -

at the top of Page 1.

The beginning of Page 2 should have an Abbreviated Headline. Place the remainder of the text after the headline. In the last paragraph of your press release, include your contact information again.

(Optional) You can include a company history/bio after the press release. I don't normally add this section but when I do, I like to format it in italics - this helps separate the section from the rest of the text.

At the end of every press release, add three number signs at the bottom of the page, like this:

# # #

This signifies that the press release is finished.

If you're still scratching your head over what to do, read on for a (really bad) example, written by me.

Sample Press Release


Contact: Little Bo Peep
LBP Detectives
123 Furry Sheep Lane
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(555) 555-5555

Little Bo Peep Brings Home Lost Sheep, Increases Productivity Among Farmers

Toronto, Ontario, October 6, 2009 - Tired of constantly losing her sheep and not knowing where to find them, Little Bo Peep has launched LBP Detectives, a private investigation service aimed at locating lost sheep.

The service was established last month after Little Bo Peep could not locate her flock for five consecutive days and it is proving to be a huge success, having rescued over a thousand sheep since mid-September.

"When I lose my sheep, I can't concentrate on anything else," said Old MacDonald, a farmer and satisfied customer. "Thanks to LBP Detectives I no longer have to waste time searching for my flock. If my sheep go missing, I know that they will be returned to me within the hour."

According to statistics, lost sheep are usually located and returned by LBP Detectives within forty-five minutes. This is far more efficient than standard police services, which normally take up to three days to locate lost sheep. The service, which handles an average of 125 sheep/day, has increased productivity among farmers and sheppards by 25% across the board. In addition to providing sheep owners with more time during the day LBP Detectives has also freed up time at the police station, where missing sheep reports have declined by a whopping 72%.

Little Bo Peep is looking to expand her business so that it can help all lost animals. "We're in the midst of a merger with Little Dog Gone, a service that locates lost dogs," Little Bo Peep said. "Our aim is to bring home as many lost animals as possible in a safe and efficient manner - to the betterment of all pet-owners and farm industry workers."

For more information on LBP Detective services or to file a missing sheeps report, contact Little Bo Peep at LBP Detectives at (555) 555-5555.


  1. This is information I've been dying to learn about for so long. Thank you so much for this article!

  2. I actually liked the sample press release from LBP. I thought it was cute. I can't imagine ever needing to write a press release, but if I ever need to, I know where to look for guidance and an example. Good job!

  3. Thanks for this article Cheryl,

    It was funny and informative, which is something I appreciate a lot. I've been thinking a bit about what to write for April Fool's day.

    I think I'm going to use the press release style. . .

  4. Thanks for the kudos ladies!

    I can't wait to read the Hallowe'en press release!!

  5. As spokesperson for the Big Bad Wolf company, I must warn all LBP detectives not to interfere with our personnel.

  6. Cute and useful. Thanks.

  7. Users may want to consider the term "News Release" rather than "Press" Release. This is a more modern term and often times more palatable to electronic media. In addition, one may wish to consider the "social media news release" format an an alternative approach to reach online audiences and provide a structure for hyperlinks and other such references.

  8. Thanks Warren, with changes happening as quickly as they do, sometimes it's easy to lose track of all the new terms.