How to Write a Press Release – An in-depth guide

Formatting your press release correctly ensures that journalists will recognize what it is and take it seriously. Every press release is composed of distinct parts. When journalists receive your release, they’ll scan it to find the information of greatest interest to their readers. If that information isn’t in the right place or your release is sloppy, it will likely get deleted or tossed in the trash.

It’s important to understand that there are some formatting differences depending on the outlet for which you’re preparing a press release. If you’re sending your release to a blog, a newspaper or another traditional media outlet, use the general formatting guidelines found in this whitepaper. If you’re distributing your release through PR Newswire or a similar service, review their specific guidelines and be sure that your press release meets them.

Every press release contains six distinct parts that must be written in a specific order. Including all of these parts is essential to clarity and efficacy. Check out this template for a working example of how a press release should be formatted.


Think of your header as the title of your press release. It should provide a snapshot of what the press release is about. A great header engages the reader and builds excitement about the information to follow.


The dateline of your press release lets the reader know where your organization is located and the timeliness of the information. A properly formatted dateline looks like this:

City, State or Nation—Month Day, Year—

If your organization is located in San Diego, for instance, your dateline would look like this:

San Diego, CA—May 8, 2017—

Organizations that use Associated Press (AP) Style generally write the city in the dateline in all capitals. There are also some cities that can stand alone according to AP Style, so you don’t need to follow them with the state or nation. You can consult your AP Stylebook to find out which cities follow this rule.

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