Editorial Guidelines for News Releases
PRWeb’s editorial staff reviews all press releases before distribution to ensure that content is newsworthy, accurate and in an acceptable press release format. Attention to the following guidelines will help your press release get speedy approval and distribution on our platform.
PRWeb press releases must contain a clear, timely and newsworthy angle and be free of advertising hype, direct address and spam. Press releases should incorporate the following features/qualities:
Newsworthy Content: Common news angles include timely information about a new product or service, a business expansion or recent event, an organizational milestone like an anniversary or award or the issuance of a tip sheet or expert opinion on a topic currently in the news. The news announcement must be clearly stated in the headline. Not everything is news. Do not try to use your press release for advertising or to post a general interest article, “open letters” and the like that lack attribution and/or news value.
Objective Tone: PRWeb press releases should be free of hype flags and direct address (i.e. “you,” “I,” “we,” etc.) unless used within a quotation from a spokesperson from a company or organization. Direct address is a flag that the content is an advertisement rather than a news release. Similarly, hype flags — exclamation points; hyperbolic product/service claims; descriptions of a product or service as AMAZING, or the use of upper case characters to create emphasis — challenge the credibility of your news announcement.
Legally Accurate: PRWeb requires a case number, court of record, complaint number or other sufficient documentation for all press releases referencing legal action or criminal matters. (Please see our separate editorial guidelines on distributing press releases about legal and political matters.)
Valid Contact Information: PRWeb press releases must contain a valid phone number and e-mail address in the contact information.
Written Authorization: In certain cases, such as with network marketing companies, with the use of a stock ticker symbol, or with major corporate announcements such as (but not limited to) those related to M&A, PRWeb may require written authorization from a company executive before a press release is approved for distribution. Independent representatives of network marketing companies, MLM or party plan companies must always obtain the express consent of the company’s executive.
Standard Length: PRWeb press releases should be between 300 and 800 words. The length of your release directly affects its distribution, and press releases that are overly short or long may have trouble being indexed in the search engines. The news Summary should also be limited to 1 or 2 sentences.
Standard Grammar and Spelling: PRWeb press releases should be free of spelling and grammatical errors, and should be written entirely in English. Although jargon and acronyms are commonplace in natural language, make sure to include definitions for industry jargon so the average person can understand as well.
PRWeb Formatting: PRWeb press releases cannot contain HTML tags and other formatting such as non-standard characters, tables or forced line breaks. Releases also should not be written partially or entirely in all capital letters. Use our Linkwriter, available with the Advanced package and higher, on the submission page for your keyword links. Before submitting your release, please ensure all links in your release are fully functional. If your website is not available or fully functional at the time of editorial review, you will need to remove the links from your release, or wait until the website is in operation to submit.
A Clear News Source: PRWeb requires a clear news source be identified in the headline. The news source is the company or organization that is issuing the release. If your agency, firm or business is distributing on behalf of a client, then the source would be the client’s company or organization’s name. It should also be clear how that company or organization relates to the news announcement.
Email Addresses: PRWeb does not recommend the use of email addresses within the body of the press release. If an email address is included, our editorial team will modify the email address to be in this format Name (at) example (dot) com.
Financial Visibility: In addition to the standard editorial guidelines that apply to all release levels, there are a set of additional guidelines that specifically apply to the Financial Visibility release. Please know that PRWeb does not accept free email addresses (such as: Gmail, Hotmail, Comcast, Verizon, etc.) for the Press Contact nor the User Account for submission of releases through this package.
PRWeb does not distribute:
Advertisements: If your press release is primarily aimed at selling a product or service, then it is an advertisement and not a press release. A good press release informs the media and the general public about a newsworthy topic. If the primary purpose of the document is to sell without any other newsworthy element, then it will be denied publication.
Personal Opinions: PRWeb will not distribute content intended to harm or exact personal revenge against a person or group. PRWeb typically accepts press releases related to political, public policy and other sensitive matters, provided opinions are appropriately attributed and the release does not contain unsubstantiated allegations or excessive hyperbole.
Unaccepted File Attachment Types: PRWeb does not accept releases that contain links or attachments with extensions other than the following: jpeg, gif, png, tiff, bmp, ps, pdf, doc*,xl*, rtf, ppt, mpeg, mp* and mov.
Sexually Explicit Content: To ensure the integrity of our service for all, PRWeb does not accept content about sexually explicit material or products. Press releases should not contain references or links to explicitly sexual material, illegal material or profane language. Please note that all 18-and-older Web sites are considered sexually explicit.
SPAM: Avoid getting caught in content filters because of the prominence, high volume or density of words and/or phrases that are frequently found in advertisements, unwanted e-mail (SPAM) or on non-newsworthy websites. Examples of these words and phrases include girls, amazing, FREE, sex, naked, buy, “make money” and “don’t miss this opportunity”.
Link SPAM: Please limit your link count to 1 per 100 words. This policy is in place to protect the value of the links in a press release and the value of links within the PRWeb network.
Blog Posts: Blog posts, general interest articles, “open letters” and the like usually lack attribution and/or news value and are not an acceptable press release format.
Opinion Pieces: News releases can be about a person or group’s opinion on a topical subject, but should not contain only opinion. Opinions not attributed to a source are flags that the content may be an advertisement or opinion column rather than a news release.
Reprints: News and feature images, articles, opinion columns, editorials or news stories from other websites or publications, especially if they are copyrighted, are not press releases.
Fiction: All PRWeb users must agree to submit only accurate information.
Duplicate Content: A press release can only be distributed once through PRWeb. In addition, a significant majority of each press release must be original content. Templated content is not permitted. Using copyrighted content from other sources is a violation of PRWeb’s Terms of Service.
Third Party Legal Releases: PRWeb only accepts press releases from law firms in which the firm is representing one of the parties in the case. PRWeb does not accept press releases regarding legal cases from third party firms.
Market Research Reports: PRWeb does not allow press releases promoting sites that sell reports detailing market research, industry analysis, market trends or forecasts.
Intent to Harm: PRWeb does not distribute content intended to harm or exact revenge upon an individual or group. This content is defined as anything deemed intended to: incite, advocate or express hatred, bigotry, racism or gratuitous violence; promote personal opinions attacking an individual or group; maliciously affect a company’s stock; or stalk, defame, defraud, degrade, shame or victimize an individual or group.
Unauthorized Ticker Symbols: While we encourage our clients to use any ticker symbols they are authorized to use in their press releases, we will need to receive the proper authorization from the source company for each ticker symbol used.
Online Gambling: PRWeb does not publish releases that promote or link to online gambling, fantasy sports and related sites.
Streaming Video Sites: PRWeb does not publish releases that promote, or provide access to, streaming video content from premium broadcast providers or television channels without the direct authorization from the original broadcast owner.
Payday or Short Term Loans: PRWeb does not publish releases that promote or link to payday, short term or other unsecured loan services.
Online Pharmaceuticals: PRWeb does not accept releases from online pharmacies or websites which sell prescription drugs unless both the website and release explicitly state that a doctor’s prescription is required for purchase. In addition, pharmaceutical sites that are acceptable must be located within the United States or UK.
Unsafe Weight Loss Products: PRWeb does not allow any unsafe or potentially hazardous weight loss products or ingredients cited on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Tainted Products list.
Unapproved or Misleading Health Supplements: PRWeb does not allow the following health supplement content, irrespective of any claims of legality:
- All items listed on Google’s AdWord policy page regarding prohibited pharmaceuticals and supplements
- Products that contain ephedra
- Non-prescription products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
- Herbal and dietary supplements with active pharmaceutical or dangerous ingredients
- False or misleading health claims, including claims implying that a product is as effective as prescription drugs or controlled substances
- Non-government approved products that are marketed in a way that implies that they’re safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment
- Products that have been subject to any government or regulatory action or warning
- Products with names that are confusingly similar to an unapproved pharmaceutical or supplement or controlled substance
- Low T and hormone replacement therapy products, unless prescribed by a doctor
Important to note, full disclosure of a product’s ingredients must be available inside the press release or at the associated website.
Sexual Enhancement Products: PRWeb does not allow press releases which promote sexual enhancement products.
Easy Money Schemes: PRWeb does not accept releases that promote make-money online, work from home programs or get-rich-quick schemes.
Stock Recommendations: PRWeb does not accept releases that promote stock picks, newsletters, alerts, recommendations, advice or reviews. Publicly traded companies may still promote their own news.
E-Cigarettes and Vaporizer Products: PRWeb does not allow releases that promote the sale or use of Electronic Cigarettes or other vaporizer products.
Over-optimization: PRWeb does not accept releases that contain keyword or link over-optimization.
Illegal Cell Phone or Tablet Unlocking: PRWeb does not publish press releases that promote products or services regarding unlocking cell phones or tablets without carrier permission.
BlackHat SEO Tactics: PRWeb does not allow releases to promote or link to Black Hat SEO tactics and services. These types of services include, but are not limited to, keyword stuffing, link buying and selling, and paid social media followers.
Academic Writing Services: PRWeb does not publish releases that promote services that write research papers, essays, term papers or dissertations for a fee.
PRWeb also reserves the right to remove news releases that are determined to have earned unnatural inbound links through participation in paid link schemes. On occasion PRWeb will review client releases to ensure they remain compliant with search engine Webmaster Guidelines.
* PRWeb’s editorial staff reviews all press releases before distribution. PRWeb editors have the final say in determining what content is appropriate for distribution on the PRWeb platform. These guidelines are meant to supplement PRWeb’s terms of service which require users to be responsible for the content and accuracy of all information submitted to us.
Because the Internet plays such a critical role in the way people seek information in the modern world, using an online press release distribution service is one of the best ways to spread the word about developments in your organization.
Questions about your PRWeb account or interested in learning more about our news services?
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Contact information is available here.
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