How to Write a Press Release in 2020 (+7 Press Release Format Examples)

10. Contact Information

Including contact information seems like a no-brainer. That said, it can be a deal breaker if forgotten. If a reporter is interested in following up but can’t find a simple way to do so, they’ll move on to the next press release in the pile.

Include the following to make the most of every opportunity:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Ensure you receive every message by keeping your phone number and email address current. As for who to include, it depends. Some companies have a dedicated media liaison while some prefer to change it up based on the nature of the release.

11. Ending Your Press Release

Transitioning pages within a press release – or ending them – is often confusing. It’s easy to to think that a press release has ended when there’s actually more information. Or someone assumes they are missing something even though the release has ended.

Over time, media outlets have developed a standardized format to avoid confusion. It’s simple. If your press release will continue onto a subsequent page, end the current page with: —MORE—

However, if your press release is finished, indicate the end of the document with three hash marks, like this: ###

That was a lot of information, but it will become second nature as you write more and more.

7 Tips for Writing a Great Press Release

Understanding the basic elements and format of press releases will take you far. Journalists are more likely to reward you with media coverage when the content you submit is structured to grab their attention.

That said, even the most standard of press releases can stand out if the writer utilizes some industry best practices.

Here some proven tips to help you write the most compelling press releases possible:

1. How Long Should A Press Release Be?

Determine what you need to say, and then use the fewest amount of words possible to say it. Press releases are no-nonsense. They should be just long enough to answer who, what, when, where and why, and leave room for a little intrigue.

Ideally you’ll want to keep them under two full pages. If you can fit everything on a single page, even better. Keep in mind your primary audience — an overwhelmed journalist, wading through dozens of press releases to find their story.

On average, they spend less than a minute[27] reading each one.

The sweet spot is around 300-to-500 words. Think three or four paragraphs, a few quotes, and maybe an image. Tie everything together with an attractive title, and you’re golden.

2. How Should My Press Release Be Written?

The tone of your press releases should mirror the tone you would find in a news article. Stick to straightforward, objective language. Focus on the facts.

Even though the goal is to promote your company, you don’t want to be, well, overly promotional. Avoid excessive punctuation or bold claims that you can’t back up (think “best in class”).

Always write your press releases in the third person and avoid words like “me,” “we,” and “us.”

3. How Much Information Should My Press Release Include?

A great press release is a balancing act. It should contain enough information so that your readers have a general idea of what’s going on, but not so much that they feel like they know the entire story.

A press release typically covers an exciting event, so of course you want to talk about it as much as possible. That said, err on the side of restraint. Cover your five W’s, then leave it to the media to share your story.

Remember: You only need enough to give reporters the basics and get them intrigued. They can always follow up with you for more information. Reporters are writers; by leaving room for them to explore the story, you’re empowering them to add their own voice and style to the final product.

4. SEO and Your Press Release

SEO stands for search engine optimization, the process used to make certain pieces of content more likely to appear at the top of the results for major search engines.

Because so many people are searching online, and the vast majority of modern press releases live on the internet, this is something to keep in mind.

By determining terms or keywords often searched in Google, you can tweak your press releases[28] to make them more likely to be found. This is potentially a great source of exposure – and it’s absolutely free.

5. Steer Clear of Industry Jargon

Your reader more than likely won’t be in your industry. It’s easy to throw around terms and acronyms that outsiders wouldn’t understand, but that doesn’t mean you should.

We can’t assume that the media outlets that might cover you understand industry jargon as well as you do – or even at all.

Stick to simple, straightforward language. No reason to use “formed a synergistic relationship with XYZ Company to cultivate a superior user experience” when you can say “partnered with XYZ Company to better serve their customers.”

6. Don’t Make It All About You

Press releases that get widely distributed all have one thing in common: They provide their reader value.

Put yourself in the position of a media outlet. Are you likely to write a story on a press release that’s nothing more than self-promotion?

With practice, you’ll start to weave even seemingly promotional concepts (like award wins and new hires) into a broader context. By fitting it into the bigger picture, a journalist is more likely to see how it would fit into their story.

First and foremost, consider the needs of the media outlets. The easier it is for them, the more likely it is your press release will be the subject of a news story.

7. Use Visual Content

Did you know our brains process images 60,000 times faster[29] than text? This will work to your advantage when targeting media professionals with limited time and attention spans.

Visual elements – photos, logos, infographics, and more – capture attention and make it easier to digest information. Including them can make the difference between obscurity and widespread distribution.

Writing your first press release can be quite the undertaking. Explore these additional resources to optimize your efforts.

Press Release Distribution

A killer press release is nothing without visibility. Strategic distribution – connecting with the right media professionals – will increase your exposure dramatically.

Press release distribution is all about efficiency: gaining the most coverage with the least effort.

Press release distribution is an art in itself, but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also want to monitor any media coverage closely while building long-term relationships with outlets and reporters.

How to Distribute a Press Release

Once you finish writing your press release, the next step is obvious: sending it. However, with the various press release distribution strategies, how will you determine your best fit? The choice will depend on the specific content within your press release.

Some companies handle distribution on their own, while others hire PR agencies to take care of it. You can target individual journalists, send a mass email (not recommended) – or make a short list of those most likely to give you favorable coverage.

Distributing press releases to individuals or small groups is time consuming, but it can be well worth it if you’ve developed those relationships, or could develop them from there. When you have a professional relationship with a journalist, you can sense whether your press release is a good fit. Distribution is narrower than the thousands of journalists scouring newswires, but it’s more targeted.

One of the most popular strategies is to use a distribution service to get your press release “on the wire.”

What exactly does that mean?

We’ll address that right now.

Press Release Distribution Services

Press release distribution services get your press releases in front of journalists, reporters, and other influential members of the media such as bloggers, thought leaders, and more. Instead of targeting specific people, you post your press release once – and it’s available to everyone with access to the service.

Using these services is the easiest way for a company to distribute its press releases broadly. The sheer size of the services lets you connect with media pros you’ve never heard of, in locations all over the world. While the approach may not be super targeted, based on the amount of eyes on your release, the math works in your favor. Ideally, a few will bite.

Both paid and free press release distribution services are available. If you’re working with a PR agency, it’ll likely have access to several services and will help guide you in the right direction.

Free Press Release Distribution

Free press release distribution is always an option for budget-conscious organizations, or companies with minimal resources. Instead of hiring a PR agency or paying for access to certain newswires, you can save that money and invest it elsewhere.

Expenses are smaller – but we have to remember the opportunity costs. You’ll have to keep the following question in mind: Is it worth committing the time it takes to post your release on free distribution services or reach out to receptive journalists? If the answer is yes, then this option may be fore you.

A word of caution — distributing press releases on a free service will likely not be as effective at securing publicity as your paid options. Journalists at the top media outlets have access to paid newswires. Because those are popular and well known, they have a greater reach than the free services.

You might be surprised how many free press release distribution websites are out there. Take a look at the list at the bottom of this post[30] to get you started.

Paid Press Release Distribution

Paid press release distribution is one of the most popular ways companies get the media coverage they’re looking for. Newswires like PR Newswire[31] and BusinessWire[32] aren’t cheap, but they offer access to broad pools of outlets and reporters.

If you’re looking to target top-tier publications (think The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, etc.) you’re more likely to find their journalists via paid newswires. The publications with the resources to afford them will likely take advantage of that.

The downside, of course, is the cost. Whether you’re posting press releases on the newswires yourself or having a PR agency handle it, you’re shelling out cash.

It isn’t always necessarily the best way to go. Assess the situation on a case-by-case basis — ask yourself how important potential coverage is and how much you’re willing to spend. It might be more effective to just target a few reporters you know well or those you know have covered similar news (something you can do for free).

Press Release Distribution Software[33]

Press release distribution software sends your press releases to various newswires and media outlets. PR professionals (both agencies and those working within companies’ PR departments) use them. Some software also includes monitoring features, as well as their own newswire services.

Press Release Microsites

Once you’ve gone through the trouble of crafting a new press release, why not publish it to your own company website?

This step, which is free and guaranteed for publication, ensures that you’ll at least get some eyes on it. It’s not necessarily going to get your release picked up by the media, or even much visibility, but you’ve already created the press release. It only takes a few minutes to upload it to your website.

Uploading your own press releases helps interested people find the latest news about your company – all in one place. Investors and loyal customers alike will visit the page to get a quick catch up on goings-ons. A microsite is an opportunity to consolidate your company’s latest news and set the tone for the messaging around it. Additionally, it creates another opportunity for online searchers to type in the right keywords and discover your company.

Some organizations create a press release microsite, which is basically a smaller site under their larger corporate web presence. Take a look at some examples below to see how they’re organized:

Individual Outreach

Whether or not you’re using a service or newswire, always consider sending your press release to the media directly. Once you’ve developed friendly professional relationships with specific reporters or publications, this can be a super effective (and free) tactic.

Just be sure to follow their preferred method to get in touch. Most people prefer email these days, but there are still some that like snail mail and fax.

Individual outreach thrives on smart targeting and the power of relationships. And don’t assume that no response means they aren’t interested! Make sure to follow up (once or twice, never more). These journalists or reporters are bound to be busy, and it’s possible that they missed your first attempt.

Press Release Distribution Tips

Your press release could check every box, but it won’t get the media coverage you’re after without proper distribution. In other words: Your press release is only as good as your distribution tactics.

The following tips will help you get the most from your distribution efforts:

  • Know the timing and deadlines. Something is only “newsworthy” for an extremely limited time – especially with today’s endless stream of articles, social media feeds, and 24-hour news networks. Starting your outreach before the news goes live is critical. Give reporters plenty of time to prepare for the big day. Most journalists need between a day and a week to turn something around. Otherwise, they’ll be forced to scramble in response to old news that has already been made public, or ignore it all together.
  • Give an exclusive. Media outlets love to be either the first source to report news or the only one. Distributing your press releases on the newswires removes the first possibility. With so many journalists browsing those platforms, it’s impossible to know who will pick it up first. But if you give one media outlet an exclusive, it allows them to be the only one discussing your topic. That will make them more likely to cover it. More importantly, this can help you build a relationship to increase future opportunities. Like they say, it’s all about who you know. That said, we recommend offering an exclusive to a reporter or media outlet with whom you already have a relationship. Be sure to secure the coverage before confirming its an exclusive. If you ask nicely, they may even let you get a sneak peak at the story before it goes live.
  • Schedule distribution for off times. Some press release services and software allow you to schedule your distribution at a certain time. Naturally, most companies do this at the top of the hour (8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., etc.) Why not schedule your press release at an unusual time, like 8:27 a.m.? Journalists might be more receptive if it doesn’t blend in with the barrage of others.
  • Send a press kit. Sending a press kit along with your release takes work out for the reporter, and you can bet that anything making their lives easier will put you in their good graces. With all the background information, documents, photos, and whatever else they need at hand, it’s easy for journalists to just start writing a story — no research required. To further your knowledge, check out how a press kit is different from a media kit[34]

What is a press kit?

A press kit (also called a “media kit”) is a package of materials you prepare and send to media outlets in hopes of getting coverage. It includes your press release, as well as other common elements like fact sheets, bios of key executives, photos, past press coverage, and even DVDs or other media.

Monitoring a Press Release

You’ve written your press release, put it on the wire, and started to get some bites, but you’re not done yet. It’s time to see which media outlets cover it, what they’re saying, and how the message is received.

This is called press release monitoring. Instead of jumping into other tasks and just hoping your press release works out, you’re tracking the results systematically.


Careful monitoring gives you a better understanding of:

  • Which publications are receptive to your press releases
  • How the audience responds
  • How much activity a publication produces on your company website
  • Which key outlets and journalists might be willing to work with you again

In short, monitoring helps you understand what’s working, what didn’t quite work, and how to improve your distribution strategies going forward. If an article on Forbes drives 10 times the traffic as six articles in lesser-known publications, consider offering that same Forbes reporter an exclusive next time around.

Press Release Monitoring Services

With the abundance of software available, you don’t have to devote significant amounts of time and energy monitoring media coverage manually.

Analytics platforms show you which publications are generating the most traffic back to your website. By setting up a Google alert, you’ll get a notification every time your company is mentioned somewhere online.

Several types of software makes this process even easier – and more insightful. The most valuable types for tracking your press releases are media monitoring software and PR analytics software.

Media Monitoring Software[35]

Media monitoring software gives you up-to-date feeds of content and activity notifications from various media channels. Your PR department can choose which media outlets to follow, then get notified whenever your company is mentioned on their websites, blogs, and social media accounts.

Most impressive about media monitoring software is how it stores links to these mentions. You can refer back to them later when you’re considering who to target in the future. The software also includes reporting features, shedding light on the number and frequency of media mentions, as well as their impact on your company.

A few popular media monitoring software examples are Meltwater[36], Cision[37], and Critical Mention[38].

PR Analytics Software[39]

Public relations (PR) analytics software helps you measure the effectiveness of your PR campaigns. By gathering data into one easy-to-analyze place, the software helps companies determine which of their PR efforts have been the most effective.

Because press releases are an important part of most PR strategies, it might make sense to add this software to your arsenal. It’s common to see PR analytics software used with media monitoring tools for companies who need the most features and have budget for both.

Popular PR analytics software examples include Business Wire[40],[41], and Gorkana[42].

Press Release Monitoring Tips

The insights you get from keeping a close eye on your media coverage can’t be found anywhere else. Seeing how publications and audiences respond offers invaluable guidance to make your press releases even more effective.

The following tips will help you monitor your press releases consistently without feeling overwhelmed:

  • Compare the results of different newswires. After using a newswire and seeing some success, it’s easy to stick with what you know. However, there’s more out there! When your budget allows, upload the same press release to two newswires then track the results. You might be surprised when you compare.
  • Don’t get too obsessive about monitoring. Just like your Facebook and Instagram notifications, you can fall into the trap of checking your media coverage multiple times a day. In reality, once or twice a week will do. Rest easy knowing that your software is gathering all the data you need while you focus on other public relations strategies.
  • Focus on the right metrics. With analytics and software tools, there’s never been more data at your disposal. Hone in on the key metrics to keep things simple and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Track the number of total impressions each release gets across every media outlet, as well as the referral traffic each outlet sends back to your website.
  • Get qualitative. It’s easy to focus so intently on the numbers that you overlook the most important part: building relationships. Patterns will emerge about specific publications and/or reporters most receptive to giving you the coverage you need. Get a strategy in place to further develop those relationships between releases.

Press release tips from PR experts 

Looking for even more tips on how to write a press release that performs? You’re in luck! We’ve gathered some of the best press release tips from public relations experts.

Next time you’re writing a press release, be sure to keep the following advice in mind. 

1. Focus on what your media contacts need

“Many businesses write press releases with the company in mind, thinking first of what information the brand wants to get across. In reality, you should be primarily focused on your media contacts’ needs. Don’t bury the lead: Put the information that your contacts will be most interested in at the top. Don’t write in jargon—consider, instead, how your targets write and adapt your writing so there’s less editing that needs to be done on their end. A reporter once told me that he appreciated that I didn’t write release headlines in all caps, because an all-caps headline is something he can’t easily copy from a release to his story. Think through how you can format your release to make the lives of your busy media contacts easier.”

2. Write a press release like you would write a story

“I recommend writing a press release like you would a story with a lead that makes you want to read on. Because reporters are tight on time, this makes it easier for some reporters to simply use your release instead of having to rewrite it. Also, whenever possible, stay away from jargon. If you have to use industry jargon, use quotes as a way to better explain what you are saying. Finally, make it short, no one has time to read more than a page. If they are interested they will follow up.”

3. Make it newsworthy and free of jargon

  • Put actual news in them.
  • Ruthlessly delete meaningless hype words like leading or solution.
  • Include a contact person’s name and contact info. I am constantly amazed at how many releases don’t contain this information. If you are lucky, journalists may have follow-up questions. 
  • Candace Talmadge, Business Storyteller at[44]

4. Cut to the chase and lose the fluff

Highlight why your news matters in the headline: I like to call it finding the “So What?” For example, Company X Partners with Company Y isn’t important, it’s the IMPACT of that partnership that is, so that’s the answer to “So What?” that you should focus on. So, it’d become something more like “Company X Partners with Company Y to Do Z.” And, of course, that Z should be something interesting or of value.

Cut to the Chase: Your first sentence should clearly express what it is you’re announcing. Don’t bury it behind two sentences of exposition or set up. If you need to contextualize, you can do that later.

Lose the fluff: Get rid of the hyperbole and empty expressions like ground breaking and next-generation, and don’t make claims you can’t support. This includes avoiding calling yourself the leader or leading something if you can’t quantify how you came to that conclusion.

Make your quotes meaningful: Again, the focus should be on the impact of the news or what it means in the grand scheme of the business. That so-and-so is happy to partner with company X is completely superfluous and a total waste of words. 

5. Include images that convey your message

  • The organizational flow of a press release is key in capturing the media’s attention.
  • The title and subtitle should garner a reaction while giving enough information that the reader knows where the release is headed.
  • Including images that convey the message of the press release is also vital to garnering the proper attention.
  • The text of the release should be concise, well-written, include all vital details, and most importantly easily adaptable for the media to use as their own.
  • The release should be based in fact, but should also include a memorable and adaptable quote as well.
  • Jason Goldstein, PR Manager at Immerse Agency[46]

6. Incorporate the three C’s

When writing a news release, it’s crucial to incorporate what I call the three C’s of successful messaging. They’re essential components in your quest to capture the attention of an editor or journalist:

  • Clarity – your release should announce your news simply, distinctly, and with no puffery or cliche bizspeak verbiage
  • Conciseness – your release should be short and punchy: remember, you’re not trying to tell the whole story, you’re trying to share just enough of the exciting stuff to get your readers hooked
  • Convincingness – your release should seek to include credible data points and third party quotes that validate the importance and newsworthiness of your announcement
  • Rafe Gomez, Co-owner at VC Inc. Marketing[47]

7. Don’t bury the news

Having worked in a variety of industries and in different countries, I have learned that the basics of a good press release remain the same. The golden rule is to not bury the news. Often PRs will try and write the release like an article, presenting facts that lead up to the main event. You need to lead with the most interesting piece, otherwise it will unlikely be read.

When appropriate, always include quotes from a relevant spokesperson. Commentary will provide context around the news you are releasing; why it is important and what it means for the audience. These can lead to an interview or be picked up verbatim, helping establish or maintain a thought leader platform for your business, in addition to awareness.

  • Jennifer McDermott, Head of Communications at Finder[48]

Now It’s Time To Write Your First Press Release

Press releases might be an “old school” publicity strategy, but when they’re used well, they’re an invaluable tool to reach wider audiences and boost your credibility.

It can feel a bit overwhelming at times if you’re just getting started. All you have to do: work your way through this page one step at a time.


Start with a newsworthy event. Prepare a compelling release by including all the key elements and arranging them in the proper format. Distribute it to media outlets strategically. Then track the results so you can make your strategies even more effective with time.

We’ve covered a lot of information — use this tool as a reference, develop your own best practices, and get ready to see results. 


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