A press release typically consists of four parts: Headline, lead paragraph, second and third paragraphs, and a background or about section. In order for a press release to stand out among countless e-mails that a journalist or editor receives every day, the subject should be communicated in a compelling headline, and also included in the lead paragraph. A great press release should provide answers to the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions already in the lead paragraph. Please remember that members of the media rarely have the time or available space to always cover your news stories extensively. Therefore the answer to the question, “If an editor uses only the lead paragraph of this press release, would the story lose its newsworthiness?” must be considered when constructing the text. So anything that must definitely be included in the news story and not get cut by the editor should be in the lead paragraph.
The second and third paragraphs should include detailed information, participants or attendees, if any, and purpose. If the journalist or editor wants more information about the news story, these are the two paragraphs they would check. If celebrities and top executives, etc. are involved, their names should be mentioned in the lead paragraph.
If the press release will be sent prior to an event to attract members of the media or the target audience, the invitation message should be communicated in the third paragraph. The event’s date, time, venue and contact information should be placed in a small, separate box at the very end of the release.
The background section provides additional information such as the history, similar events, organizations or details about the situation. You may think of this as a section included to refresh the memory of the journalist or editor.