How many words should a press release be?

Terkel
Sep 02

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5 min read

How Many Words Should a Press Release Be

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How many words should a press release be?

To help you have success with your press releases, we asked PR professionals, journalists and reporters this question for their best insights. From being as concise as possible to basing the number on the type of release and audience, there are several ideas about the number of words that are appropriate for an effective press release.

 

Here are eight insights these professionals shared:

  • Be as Concise as Possible
  • One Page Or Up to 600 Words
  • Under 500 Words for Quick and Catchy Content
  • It’s Not the Word Count but Making Every Word Count
  • Roughly 400 Words
  • Between 400 and 800
  • It Depends on the Media Outlet You Are Targeting
  • Base The Number on the Type of Release and the Audience

 

Be as Concise as Possible

The best performing and most effective headlines that I found are around 7 words.  The opening paragraph should highlight the most important information and address any questions asked by the journalist.

For me, the ideal word count, in this case, is between 40 and 50, with a maximum word count of 60. And for the entire content, some say, that you can go up to 500, but that should be on very rare occasions and you should have an effective good press release to reach that much.

Honestly, your press release should be in the shortest possible form without any fluff but still provide all the information. Your target should, in my opinion, be between 300 and 350 words. If you aim for 300, you’ll be surprised how you find creative ways to describe the same things with fewer words.

Gerrid Smith, Joy Organics

 

One Page Or Up to 600 Words

A good target length of a press release is often between 400 and 600 words, or about a single-spaced page max. This means that the information you share needs to be genuinely newsworthy, where it demonstrates an impact and has the potential for higher recall value. In approximately 500 words, it is your job to build a story for your audience, while making it evergreen with current trends and involving a sense of urgency when appropriate.

Marilyn Zubak, Snif

 

Under 500 Words for Quick and Catchy Content

While it would seem more words means more publicity, the opposite is true. Your press release should be under 500 words. Don’t add meaningless text to get there if you can perfectly write it in 300. You want to get your message across quickly and catchily to get picked up by the media. More words isn’t more publicity in a press release.

Colette Shelton, Chirpyest

 

It’s Not the Word Count but Making Every Word Count

Throughout my career, I have edited and written thousands of press releases. I have looked at them from all sides — as a journalist, as a wire services copy editor, and as a PR professional. The key to a well-written press release isn’t the word count but to make every word count.

For example, the headline should be succinct and informative, and the first paragraph should be filled with the nuts and bolts of your press release. Then, your press release body should provide added value, relevancy, and authenticity.

This is where you build on the intro and add specific quotes or other details that you feel are important to the audience. Do not add fluff, avoid marketing and sales jargon, and stick to the key points. Lastly, your closing paragraph should be short, to the point, and provide your links and contact details. 

Ultimately, whether your press release is 500 words or 1500 words, you simply need to offer relevant content that has value for the journalist and their readers.

Chris B., Minuteman Press International

 

Roughly 400 Words

A press release should be no longer than one page, or roughly 400 words divided over three to four paragraphs. Lead with the big news and lure the reader in for more information in the first paragraph—this should highlight the 5 w’s: who, what, when, where, and why. The second paragraph is where you support your claims with quotes, and other noteworthy evidence—this is also a good spot to include any relevant infographics or videos. If necessary, a third or fourth paragraph can be added to further support your message. Otherwise, you can wrap up your press release with a call-to-action. You should then add your boilerplate to inform your readers about your company and add contact information. If you follow this format, you should be able to hit 400 words with no issue.

Natalia Morozova, Cohen, Tucker & Ades P.C.

Between 400 and 800

In my experience, a press release should be between 400 and 800 words. Any shorter and you run the risk of not providing enough information. Any longer and you risk losing the attention of your reader. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you have a truly newsworthy story, you may be able to get away with a shorter press release. However, if you’re unsure, err on the side of caution and keep it between 400 and 800 words.

Marc J. Shuman, Shuman Legal

 

It Depends on the Media Outlet You Are Targeting

The length of your press release depends on the media outlet you’re targeting. Some will only accept 500 words or less while others are happy to receive releases that are 1,000 words or longer. If you’re unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep your release under 1,000 words.

For shorter releases, make sure all of your key messages are included in the first paragraph or two so that journalists can quickly get a feel for what your story is about without having to read the entire release.

Press releases that are too long or too short can both hurt your chances of getting coverage. A lengthy release can be intimidating for journalists (and readers) who don’t have time to read through all of your content. On the other hand, a short press release may not offer enough information for journalists who want more details before writing their story. A good press release is concise and to the point. You should be able to read it in less than a minute.

Amer Hasovic, Love & Lavender

 

Base The Number on the Type of Release and the Audience

There is no definitive answer to this question as it can vary depending on the content and tone of the press release. It’s because the number of words in a press release depends on the type of release you’re writing, as well as the audience you are writing for. If you’re writing a press release for the general public and have a unique angle or angle to your story, you should use fewer words than if you’re writing a news release that is meant to be read by a specific group. If you’re writing a press release for an industry publication, you should use between 400 and 500 words. This will ensure that your message gets across clearly and it will also make sure that it gets published as quickly as possible. 

Elizabeth Hogan, Integrated Digital Strategies

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