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Formatting Press Releases

Press releases are written in a specific, compact format so newspeople can quickly scan their content for newsworthiness. Every release should follow this basic format:

Print press releases on plain white paper. Use an 11- or 12-point font, and maintain one-inch margins on all sides. Single spacing is fine, but double spacing maximizes readability.

At the top of the page, print the date for the release to be distributed, or substitute the words For Immediate Release. List the name and phone number of a contact person who will be available should the media seek additional information. Never list a contact person who will be on vacation, in meetings, or otherwise unavailable the days immediately following a press announcement.

Limit your press release to one page. Rarely is a two-page press release warranted. When an announcement is important or complex enough to require two pages or more, be sure to print “more” at the bottom of page one.

Enhance readability by writing short sentences and tight paragraphs. Use bullets, dashes, or numbers to break copy into easy-to-scan blocks.

Keep an eye on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. A press release that is riddled with mechanical errors—therefore tedious to read and unprofessional—likely will end up trashed, regardless of the story’s merits.

Signal the end of your press release with three spaced hash marks (# # #) or the number -30-.


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