Writing and Formatting Tips for News Releases

By Dana Sotoodeh

You have an awesome client and an awesome product or event and you want everyone be informed enough to want to cover it—Enter the news release.

A news release is extremely important in PR, and to run a good campaign and PR strategy your news release has to be effective. You know the basics about what should be included but writing a news release has been narrowed down to a fine science. Team Snackbox is here to focus on the small things that matter most—writing and formatting tips to make your press release stand out.



  1. Keep your news release written in third person—It’s important not to sound personal in your news releases. News releases aren’t meant to be personalized since they are going out to the masses. Make sure you use third person and include all of the basic facts such as who, what, when, where, and why.
  2. Don’t sound like a sales person: Although news releases are mostly informative, making a news release sounds sales-like will never get anyone’s attention. No one likes to read sales sounding documents so stray away from sounding too pushy. Make sure the news release is solely informative.
  3. Proofread– Proofreading is key to succeeding in any business but especially in PR! Nothing sounds less credible than a widely distributed document full of spelling and grammar errors. Check once, check twice and check a third time. You can never be too careful!




  1. Headlines and Subheads: All news releases need a headline and sometimes a subhead depending on what you are releasing. All headlines should always be bolded and larger than the font that makes up the whole news release. Usually 14 or 16 pt font works for the headline, and the font size under the headline works for the subhead. Make sure your headlines are attention grabbing and they make a reader want to know more.
  2. Media Contact Information: News Releases NEED media contact information and that information usually pertains to the person writing the news release. Without this information media has no idea who to contact if they want to move forward—and that’s important! Media contact information usually includes a name, the company name, and either an email, phone number, or both.  These are usually writing at the top right corner of the news release and they often look similar to a header. Keeping the media contact information at the top  provides media with an easy place to find any information they may need.
  3. Date: Each news release starts with the date the news release is going out and the city in which the event is happening. Most places format their dateline the same way. The body of the news release begins directly after the date listed. An example of a dateline would look something similar to this:


Austin, Texas (February 28,2015) – Start paragraph here


  1. Introduction and Body

The next paragraph is the body. The body should answer the 5 W’s and cut straight to the point. Remember, that the point of providing your media contact information is so if anyone has any other questions not answered in the news release, they can contact you for information. The body should be four sentences tops.

Boilerplate: A boilerplate is a basic staple of a news release that should always be included. A boilerplate gives a brief description of the company or business that is issuing the news release so that media has a better idea on what they do and what their mission is. As PR Pros, you will have the opportunity to write boilerplates for clients that are lacking them, or have the ability to use ones they already have approved. The boilerplate always is the last thing on the news release underneath your last paragraph. Usually it is introduced with the words

About ______ :

in bold, so there is a clear distinction between the conclusion and the plate.

Pound signs:  In the PR and marketing world, three centered pound symbols at the bottom of a news release signals that the news release has come to an end. Make sure to include these at the very end when you are triple checking your release!