Basic Guide to Writing Your Press Release

When writing a press release today you must follow the same basic guide, whether you are writing it for the online publication or traditional publication avenues. The guidelines allow a uniform location of information for easy access to media professionals.

Most markets require that press releases be submitted in the traditional format. Some media professionals throw away anything that does not conform to the standards. You may be able to add some creative measures within the content of the press release, but make sure your format stands up to the guidelines first.

AP Guidelines for Writing Your Press Release

Release Date

Start by letting the media outlet know when the content should be released. The release date could be some time in the future if the print story needs to coordinate with a future event. Most of the time, however, it will be FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. It does need to be written in all capital letters.


The headline should be attention grabbing. Sometimes the best way to create a strong headline is to write the content first. Then use some of the strongest elements within the content to create the headline. The headline should be in bold print.

Sub headline

The sub headline is a secondary headline that will be a little longer and provide a little more information about the content within the press release.

Location and date

The location where the story occurs (and sometimes the date of the writing) is placed at the beginning of the first paragraph. It is written in italics or sometimes in bold to set it off from the content in the paragraph.


The content of your press release should be written in third person. Paragraphs and sentences should be short. Break up the content with quotes or bullet points.


This is the place where you would include biographic information about the people in the story or about the company. You can include awards or accommodations that are not necessarily related to the story.

END and ###

This is used to signify to the reader that the story is over.

Additional Information

You can include links for graphics or images, additional resources, or other information that you believe might be helpful to anyone printing the story shared in the press release.

Contact Information

Contact information was traditionally shared at the end of the press release. Because most people now send press releases by email, some believe that it should be the first thing listed in order to make it easier for the media professionals to make contact.

You do want to stand out when you are working your way towards earned media, but you want to stand out for all the right reasons. It is important to know – and to follow – the standard guidelines for writing a press release.

Use your creativity in the headline. Add some uniqueness within the body. But when it comes to developing content that will get the attention of the media, be sure to follow the basic guide for writing your press release.

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Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value of brand messaging and reach.

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