A press release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy.
Generally, a PR body consists of four to five paragraphs with a word limit ranging from 400 to 500. However, press releases can be anywhere from 300 to 800 words.
Some of these common structural elements include:
- Headline – used to grab the attention of journalists and briefly summarize the news.
- Dateline – contains the release date and usually the originating city of the press release. If the date listed is after the date that the information was actually sent to the media, then the sender is requesting a news embargo, which journalists are under no obligation to honor.
- Introduction – first paragraph in a press release, that generally gives basic answers to the questions of who, what, when, where and why.
- Body – further explanation, statistics, background, or other details relevant to the news.
- Boilerplate – generally a short “about” section, providing independent background on the issuing company, organization, or individual.
- Close – in North America, traditionally the symbol “-30-” appears after the boilerplate or body and before the media contact information, indicating to media that the release has ended. A more modern equivalent has been the “###” symbol. In other countries, other means of indicating the end of the release may be used, such as the text “ends”.
- Media contact information – name, phone number, email address, mailing address, or other contact information for the PR or other media relations contact person.