A press release offers the media more information than a pitch. Sometimes, if written well enough press releases can be used as articles in some media outlets, or, condensed into a blurb or announcement in others. A press release should not be longer than one page. It should always have an accurate, interesting headline and the first sentence is crucial.
For instance, you are having an event to launch your grand opening. Between your headline and first sentence, or lead, you should answer the who, what, where, when, and why.
“Cute Boots will be having an open house on Saturday, May 1st at their 313 Main St. location from 1– 3 p.m. to celebrate the retail store’s grand opening.” Who? Cute Boots. What? Open house. Where? 313 Main St. When? 1–3 p.m. Why? Grand opening. The following sentences can be used to explain the how. How will you be celebrating exactly? Free giveaways, contests, refreshments?
If there will be a photo opportunity (ribbon cutting?) or interview possibilities, it’s always good to let the media know that as well. Press releases should always begin with the release date, the headline, and then a dateline at the beginning of the text. Always include your contact information in case they need more information. Generally, press releases end with ### so that editors know there is nothing more. There are plenty of examples online on how to format a press release.
It also helps if your press release can be written in AP Style, the style used by most major news outlets.