Press release elements

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Technically, anything deliberately sent to a reporter or media source is considered a press release: It is information that has been released by the act of being sent to the media. However, public relations professionals often follow a standard format that they believe is efficient and increases their odds of getting the publicity they desire.

The format is supposed to help journalists separate press releases from other PR communication methods, such as pitch letters or media advisories.

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.

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