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Formatting Press Releases for Distribution

Jun 13, 2008
Like most other types of written communication, there is a definite format to the best press releases that should be followed to ensure they are as effective as possible. It's generally considered that the more information there is in the release, the harder it is to read. As well, there are some spacing issues that need to be observed. There are a few different things that have been considered tried and true axioms that can give any press release more power to get your point across and the first is that you should keep them simple wherever possible.

That means that you won't want to use too many different typefaces or other options like bullet points. While the general consensus is that the bullet point is a fine way to make a series of points in an eye catching way, there's always the point where it can become too much of a good thing. To make the text as eye catching as possible, you'll also want to ensure that you use different lengths for your paragraphs. Beyond the fact that paragraphs of different lengths make for an easier to read cadence, the visual appeal of a press release that's got staggered paragraph lengths is better in that it doesn't look box like.

Along the same lines, you don't want to overdo the text emphasizers like underlining and capitals. These are generally used to draw attention to the parts of the text that you consider particularly important, but the old axiom holds true that good writing without these special effects can draw the reader more effectively. As well, readers don't always like being told where to look in the body of text and some will only read the highlighted parts and miss the rest of the text completely.

The headline deserves some special consideration as well. There needs to be one for all your releases and they are always best when bolded and the ones that stick to one theme as always the more effective. Don't overlook one of the most important elements either. The whole press release would be all for not if no one knew where to find you. Make sure to add all your contact information at the bottom of the page so that every reader will be able to get in touch. There's one last thing that you can do to make your release stand out from the rest and that's use colored paper. As most press releases are written exclusively on white paper, using something a little different is sure to give you an edge.

Although you've got a bit of room when writing and designing your press release, there are some basics that are more traditional ways of getting your point across and the first of these deals with the source above the header. It should be immediately clear to anyone reading the release who it is from. Your company name or your name needs to be front and center right at the top. Then comes the date and the headline. Remember that the header does not need to be the synopsis of what's to come in the body of the release; it should only attract a reader's attention.

For the most part, the rest of a press release should read like a news story with the first paragraph answering all the basic questions first and then the body going on to explain in more detail what the subject matter is really all about.
About the Author
Brian Stocker is a writer, editor and online marketing specialist. Visit his website for more information about Press Releases
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