Press Release Template and Formatting Guidelines

Download our free press release template and formatting guidelines. These will help to ensure your small business press release gets read by more journalists.

When your press release is ready, you’ll want to distribute it to the journalists and news networks like Associated Press. I recommend using eReleases, who are providing a 30% discount to help you get started.

Visit eReleases

Free Press Release Template and Formatting Guidelines

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Get Your Press Release Read

A small business press release tends to follow a well established press release template and formatting protocol. This makes it easier for reporters to find what they are looking for. Understanding what reporters expect, will help you to make your press release stand out from other press releases.

I recommend downloading the small business press release template and formatting PDF or Google Word Doc above. Then read our step-by-step guidance below. This will help you to understand the purpose of the press release template and formatting. You can then customise a press release that works best for your business.

1. Your Logo

Position a full colour version of your logo top left, centre or top right – wherever you normally place it on the page to ensure brand consistency. It’s also a good idea to attach a high-resolution version of your logo in a JPEG or PNG file format. You never know, some reporters may choose to include this in their article to add colour and interest – but not if they only have a blurred version of your logo.

2. Your Contact Details

Place an abbreviated version of your contact details immediately below your business logo. A contact name, email address and phone number is plenty. This allows the reporter to get straight in touch with you without having to search.

3. For Immediate Release

You’re unlikely to distribute a press release that isn’t for immediate release, so let the reporter know in bold caps that your release is for IMMEDIATE RELEASE. If you don’t say this top right, they skip past your release to the next in the stack if they have any doubts and no time to waste trying to find this out.

4. Heading

Every small business press release needs a good heading, or it’s all the reporter will read before filing your press release under ‘B’ in the round filing cabinet where the trash goes. According to Ahrefs, 4 out of 5 people read headings though only 1 out of five goes on to read what follows.

We like our press release headlines to reflect our brand and stand out and beg to be read. Creating great headlines is a skill that you can develop. To help you get started, I suggest adopting three principals:

  • Keep headings under 60 characters long – the easier it is to digest, the better it will be received
  • Be specific, factual and objective – nobody really likes generalised fluff and reporters like it less than most, so make sure your tone and your heading content is well founded rather than sensationalist
  • Tell your reader something that they don’t already know – in other words, keep is newsworthy and use numbers if you can as this helps to add weight and credibility.

5. Optional Sub-heading

If your small business press release is on a complex subject, or something that is not commonly understood, you may benefit from including a sub-heading. This should not compete with your heading, or repeat anything that has already been said. Rather, it’s an opportunity to unpack further if you think this would help.

6. Dateline (Opening Sentence)

The next most important part of your small business press release is the opening sentence. There is a very standard way of formatting this to ensure that the reporter knows (right upfront) where, when and what you’re referring to before you go on to tell your story. Use this sentence to crisply summarize your news.

7. Opening Paragraph

The rest of the opening paragraph that follows on should grab the reporter’s attention by arousing their interest and supporting this with facts and data. I like to write a press release and then create a concise summary opening paragraph after I have done this, which I then insert at the beginning.

8. Quote

Reporters like to hard-hitting press release quote from an expert. Let’s face it, you’re much more likely to get noticed and quoted if you say something topical, opinionated and newsworthy. Saying you are ‘delighted’ just doesn’t cut it these days. Keep your quote brief, place it after your opening paragraph and make it stand out using italics.

9. Overall Length & Structure

Less is more and I recommend your press release is no more than five paragraphs in length. This should be sufficient to provide a journo with the facts they need to write a compelling story.

Each paragraph should also be no longer than necessary, I recommend five of less sentences with less than 15 words in each sentence. This means that overall, your small business press release will be 500 words or less. If you highlight the text in your press release, MS and Google word will both provide you with word count of the text that you have highlighted.

10. -MORE-

Unless my press release is very brief, I like to finish the first page with the word -MORE- centred as the last thing on the page. This is the standard convention for letting the reporter know that your press release continues onto a second page.

Remember we covered ‘less is more’ in the point above? So make sure your main release is all on page one and use page two to provide your boilerplate and contact information.

11. Boilerplate

Your boilerplate is a paragraph that provides the reporter with a brief description of your business. It’s optional from the reporter’s perspective, but I suggest you view it as compulsory as it can only help your business to get more of a mention. Once you have created the boilerplate for your business, you can use the same boilerplate for each press release. Place it at the top of page two.

12. Contact

This is where you provide your full contact details. You never know, your press release may have been so compelling that the reporter wants to get in touch to interview you and turn it into a feature. This is not likely but it’s only a possibility if you provide your contact name, email, prone and mobile numbers. If you have social media links like a Twitter account, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, then be sure to include these too.

13. ###

Finally, it’s a long-standing convention to end your press release with three pound signs, this just let’s the reporter know that they have read the entire release.

The Juice Press

Why not download our press release template and formatting guidelines, and customise them to suit your needs? We also recommend reading press release examples from the pros to learn more about how to create an effective press release.

When your press release is ready to distribute, I recommend using eReleases who are currently providing a 30% discount to help you get started.

Visit eReleases