Formatting the email news release


1) Always include the release in the body of the email. Reporters don’t like to open attachments from unknown (or even known, for that matter) sources. In addition, if you have photos, service journalism, etc., place on your online newsroom and link to them in the email. Don’t attach them either.

2) Make sure you have a compelling subject line. It has to let the reporter know what the release is about. But it shouldn’t be too long. A few words at most. (i.e. Recycling contest news release)

3) The first line of the e-mail message should read: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE in all caps. This lets the reporter know the news is authorized for publication on the date they receive it. All releases must include a date since reporters do not always use releases immediately.

4) Allow one spacer line then write a headline using a combination of lower case and capital letters. Keep your headline to 5-10 words. Do not write the headline in all capital letters because it is harder to read using e-mail software.

5) Allow another empty line for spacing, then begin the text of the release with the city and state followed by a dash (see your AP stylebook for dateline entry).

6) There are a number of conventions for line length of electronic press releases. But the most popular convention is to hold the release to 400 words and under. So about five paragraphs of two to three sentences each.

7) Include press contact information below the text of the news release. A reporter reading your release should be able to make a decision about your story in the first screen of the e-mail message. Don’t waste that space with contact information. They will scroll down to find out who to contact if they want to follow-up with you.

8) Electronic contact information including an e-mail address for the press contact and Web site address of the company. Reporters working on deadline will often choose to call a company representative rather than wait for a reply by e-mail. Be sure that in addition to e-mail contact information a phone number for the press contact is listed.

9) Finally, close the document with the characters -30- or ### which are style conventions that let the report know they have reached the end of the story.

10) You can include a boilerplate in email releases as well.

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