How to Write an AP Style Press Release (+Free Template)
Press releases are a potent tool for promoting your brand to the media and expanding your clientele. It’s simple to make polished papers that will end up on the desks of journalists around the nation using an AP-style press release template.
To write yours, familiarize yourself with the requirements first, then identify a newsworthy angle and target audience. Include your contact details and the release guidelines. Then, write a catchy title, your press release’s content, and a boilerplate piece (a quick “about you” section).
The precise steps for writing a press release in AP Style are as follows:
1. Become acquainted with the American Psychological Association’s (AP) style guidelines.
One of the biggest news agencies in the world is The Associated Press. It publishes a style manual every year that specifies how the material should be organized by journalists to ensure uniformity no matter who is authoring the story. This style guide applies to press releases and covers everything from formatting recommendations to punctuation constraints.
The main AP Style requirements for press releases are as follows:
- Do not leave two spaces after a period.
- Before the last item in a series, there shouldn’t be a comma.
- Headers, subheadings, and title case (also known as capitalized)
- In AP Style, only the third person is ever used (neither first nor second).
- Numerals should be used after the letters for the numbers one through nine.
- Dates should be expressed as numbers and abbreviations should be used for months that have more than five letters.
Use common typefaces like Arial or Times New Roman.
- Use standard font sizes, such as 14 points for the header, 13 points for the subheader, and 12 points for the body.
One method to ensure that your press release complies with the formatting and criteria of AP Style is to use Send2Press, which not only distributes your press release to thousands of journalists and publications but also offers AP Style verification. No matter how well-formatted your press release is, it won’t matter if it doesn’t address a topic that is interesting and noteworthy.
Utilizing our AP Style Press Release Template, which follows the typical press release structure, is an additional choice. By doing this, it will be simpler for journalists, media organizations, and search engines to quickly acquire crucial information.
2. Discover a compelling angle for your target audience.
The first stage in writing a press release is selecting the appropriate viewpoint for your subject. To achieve this, you must first determine who will read your press release best. Do not forget that your audience also consists of the journalists’ readers, listeners, or followers. You must write your narrative to pique readers’ attention, which demands taking the following into account:
- What interests do you believe your ideal audience has? What activities do they like most? What do they read and watch, respectively?
- What are the most important values they hold? Do they want to aid a certain cause or neighborhood businesses?
- Whom do your potential customers trust? Which businesses do they think are reliable?
- Do they follow any specific patterns, such as going food shopping every Friday or doing their financial planning once a year?
Where are they located—in a particular city, state, region, country, or the entire planet, for example?
You may now begin gathering information and filling in the specifics of your AP Style news release.
3. Include the release instructions.
Pick the time and day that you want your AP Style press release to go live to get started. On your press release, this is written in capital letters in the upper right-hand corner. If your press release is prepared for release, use the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top.
A press release that has been “embargoed” is one that you want the media to hold for a specific period. It should be stated as “EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL [DATE AND TIME]”.
4. Include your contact information.
The contact information should include the name, contact number, and email address of the person who can respond to questions about the press release materials. Give your contact information in the press release’s upper left corner.
Give the following details in this format:
- Full name of the primary contact, in case the media has any questions.
- Contact Phone Number: A phone number with an area code that makes it easy to get in touch with the main contact.
- The primary contact’s email address or a media-specific company email address should be used as the contact’s email address.
5. Create a Captivating Headline
For an AP Style news release, the headline should be at the top and center of the press release. Because your press release’s title is typically its most alluring feature, you should use it to draw readers in. An AP headline should be between 65 and 80 characters long and use a 14-point font size.
Here are three great methods for creating headlines:
- Make your headline pertinent to a recent event or trending subject: The process of anchoring your press release to a topic that is already in the news is known as “newsjacking” as well. For instance, a recent natural disaster might be an excellent stimulus for a news release highlighting a nonprofit’s goal to raise money for environmental initiatives.
- By explaining what your organization is now doing, you may use the present tense in your writing to arouse passion or spur action. For example, This Kindergartener Raised $54K for Disaster Relief and How You Can Help. Your headline should ideally be dramatic, engaging, and a call to action.
- Include keywords: When using search engines to find information, people enter keywords. Use keywords and phrases in both the title and the body of your press release to ensure that it gets the most attention online. For best results, include your keywords in the first one to three words, or the first 65 characters, of your headline.
To express further information or facts, you might utilize a subheading in addition to your headline. Subheadings, which appear immediately after your title, are normally 120 characters long. They should be presented in 12-point Times Roman type with capital letters for AP Style.
6. Use a strong lead paragraph in your press release.
Your AP Style news release’s lead paragraph (often referred to as the “lead”) should include a concise summary of the key details in the release, including the date. There shouldn’t be more than 60 words in the introduction. If you keep it succinct, you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed by the media.
Consider the following ideas when you write the opening sentence:
Include the date and location.
Your press release should begin with the time and place it was written, as well as the day you want it to go online. Many media outlets will look for this when deciding when to publish your press release. For instance, you’ll frequently see notations like these in a news release’s introductory sentence:
California’s Santa Monica is a city (as of September 26, 2018). —
Bold these words and use AP Style to shorten states rather than postal codes to make them stand out.
Respond to the ‘Who, What, When, Where, and Why questions.
Provide the most crucial information in this paragraph because many readers will just read the first sentence. You may start this paragraph by briefly answering any questions your reader might have. Don’t let it become too long. A synopsis of the whole press release should be included in the introductory sentence.
The answers to the questions listed below should be included in your opening sentence:
- Who is disclosing this data: Who is disseminating this data? (A business or institution)
- What recent information should the reader be aware of?
- When will this announcement, this modification, or this hire take place?
- Where: Where is this taking place, or where can we learn more?
- Why is this news noteworthy?
After writing a compelling introduction that grabs the reader’s attention, use the paragraphs that follow to provide supporting information.
Include a supporting quotation in the body of your press release to lend it more authority. This quotation should not be more than two lines and should be pertinent to the information you are sharing. The quotation should come from a person with a solid reputation in your industry or community.
7. Come up with a boilerplate
The phrase “about” at the bottom of your press release is known as the boilerplate. You should include information about your company’s background, accomplishments, number of years in business, and anything else that is pertinent to your business. Your boilerplate should not exceed 100 words in length.
8. Send out your press release in AP style.
It’s time to issue your AP Style press release now that it has been written. This plays a significant role in the landing press. It is the place where your press release is received by journalists who can provide your press release and your business news coverage.
Press release distribution services, your website, social media, and direct contact with trusted contacts are all ways to reach journalists with your press release.
The following options are available for delivering your press release:
- If you have established contacts with journalists, distribute your press release to them directly.
- utilize a distribution service: To assure maximum exposure to certain media outlets and journalists, many businesses utilize a press release distribution service.
- You should always post your press release on your organization’s website in addition to contacting the media to increase public exposure. One way to do this is to make a press page and add all press releases and referrals to it.
- Share it on social media: After posting a press release to your website, let your followers and friends know about it by posting a link to it on their social media pages. This will allow them to read, like, and share it.
If you use a press release distribution service like eReleases, you will be given a report detailing all of your press coverage, making it easy to track the success of your press release.
Most Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are there any recommended practices for AP Style news releases?
Yes. To ensure you get the most out of your time and effort while writing an AP Style press release, there are a few recommended procedures to adhere to. These include providing pertinent and valuable information, using concise language, including graphics, and, where appropriate, breaking up long passages of text into bullet points.
What are the best services for distributing press releases for free?
You still have options even if you don’t have a list of media contacts or the money to pay for press release distribution. Use OnlinePRNews, for instance, to distribute press releases for a limited period (up to 90 days), or 1888PressRelease, for distribution to search engines.
Is it necessary for firms to issue press releases to announce new hires?
Press releases announcing new hires might increase your visibility while also warmly announcing the arrival of a new team member. However, they are frequently restricted to well-known corporations—more specifically, publicly listed corporations—and high-level positions.
A statement submitted to the media and intended for distribution by the Associated Press is known as an AP Style news release. All sorts of organizations use it to increase the likelihood that the media will cover their press release. If you employ appropriate formatting, journalists will find it easier to pick up and publish your piece.