Are you looking for information on what is press release? Then you can rest assured that this is the right article for you. Some people also use press releases to generate feature stories. Actually, reporters have a higher likelihood of considering story ideas after they have received a press release. As such, these are fundamental tools in the PR line of work. If you are willing and ready to use the proper outline and format, you will find the press release quite helpful.
Press Release Definition
A press release can be defined as a statement that is written and sent out to the media. These released are designed to announce various new items such as sales accomplishments, new services and products, awards, personnel promotions, scheduled events, brand launches among others.
You can also define press releases as short and compelling news stories written by public relations professionals before being sent out to target members within the media industry. As such, press releases have the main aim of piquing the interest of publications and journalists. They thus need to contain such essential information as why, how, when, where, what and whom. This ensures that the journalists can easily use the release to produce their own story.
From the ‘Small Business Encyclopedia’, you will learn that press releases are brief and printed statements outlining the main facts of news stories in the journalistic style. They can also be referred to as news releases (source: Answers.com). This means that press releases should read line news stories citing sources and quotes and written in the third person. They also should contain standard and newsworthy information.
Press Release Format
You should write all your press releases in the following basic format:
a) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A standard press release starts with the contact information of the writer of the release. This includes the e-mail address, phone number and name of the writer.
This is followed by the headline, which should comprise of the most important 4 or 5 words about the whole release. Journalists read the headline first. Therefore, it needs to be unique, newsworthy and intriguing to compel them to read further.
After the headline comes the brief summary of your press release, written in a single line (source: PR Leap Blog). The summary is like the headline in that it should draw readers in fast whilst motivating them to read on and learn more.
d) City, State/ Country, Date
Since press releases are supposed to feel and look like stories in a newspaper, you may also want to include a date stamp and location before you begin the first paragraph. This should go something like, ‘Vancouver, BC- January 20, 2010’.
e) Main Body
The ‘lede’ or the first sentence should resemble that in standard news stories. It thus needs to summarize the major news of your released in less than 250 words (source: Concept Marketing Group).
After this comes the body of the release. This should answer each and every question that the journalist audience may have about the event, service, product or brand you wish to announce. However, you should take care to ensure that your press release does not come off sounding overly promotional. This is despite the fact that press releases are public relations tools. When a press release sounds like it has a sales pitch, journalists will lose their interest in it.
f) Contact Information
Press release should end with short descriptions of the organization or company that has issued the release. Follow this up with an appropriate and credible call-to-action. The latter part could ask readers to test drive the product, find out more about the topic under discussion by getting in touch with the author or participate in the activity or event you wish to promote.
Improving Your Press Release
The main body and the tile of the press release should be as interesting as possible to readers. The information also has to be simple, appropriate, newsworthy and easy- to- understand. You should add the new elements, how, what, why, where, when and who within the first paragraph.
Ensure that you also write your press releases in a concise manner so that you do not create any unnecessary hype. Then, arrange the main information in an inverted pyramid format. Take great care to distribute the information simply. This means you need to avoid the use of jargon within your release.
Purpose of Press Releases
Experts write press releases with a view to inform others about the latest happenings or events of the organization or firm issuing the press release. This is why the information needs to be short. Where possible, arrange your information in bullet format. This makes it easier for readers and journalists to scan through it easily and quickly.
Distributing the Press Release
After you write the press release, you should embark on the distribution process. Currently, there are thousands of online platforms on which you can distribute your releases. You can also send out your press release through traditional new media channels. An excellent example of online distribution services is MyPRGenie. Businesses can use this service to reach as many people as they may need and more.
Most of these tools will make your release more search-engine friendly. They also use search engine optimization software and tools to get your press release to rank higher on popular search engines.
You can also send your press release to RSS feeds, news- related websites, social media networks, news wires and media contacts within your media database. Some PR tools have thousands of journalist contacts all over the globe.
Note that the news cycle works 24/ 7. News blogs, TV stations, daily newspapers and other news channels work round the clock competing to feed the general appetite for the most outrageous, most engaging and latest news. Since big news don’t happen on a daily basis, journalists will sometimes fill their column spaces and airtime with the freshest and timeliest stories. This is where your press release will come in.
Unleash the Power of Press Releases in Your Business!
To conclude, so long as your press release is targeted and written concisely, it is bound to draw the attention of the media to your newsworthy events. Include enough information to help journalists write a believable and compelling news stories and you will get the free publicity you yearn for. Overall, nothing matches a properly written press release.