The press release is perhaps the most valuable tool in the industry, having been around for over 100 years. Public relations professionals have been using this tool to provide accurate, first-hand information to the media and public – the method of distribution is probably the only thing that has changed over the years.
The definition of a press release is quite broad. But to sum it all up in plain English – a press release is an official statement prepared by an organization which is sent to the media with the to convince them to publish a story based on information on the release.
This basic tool has withstood the test of time simply because it allows PR professionals to check a whole lot of boxes using one piece of content:
°Tell the story the way they want to
°Distribute these stories quickly and economically
°Secure media coverage
°And reach a wider audience
Let’s see how it all works.
A job well done typically means a press release goes through three stages:
- Write : The first and possibly the most important stage of a press release because this represents how your news is sent out to the media and eventually to the public.
°Find the perfect angle that will resonate with people.
°Make sure your press release is easy to read – do not ambush your readers with tons of technicalities. Try to find a press release template that works for you.
°Write an attention-grabbing headline with 2 to 5 strong body paragraphs and supporting details.
°Don’t forget to include contact information.
- Distribute : Once a press release is written, the next step is to distribute it. This can be done in different ways.
°Pitching targeted media : Distribute the press release to targeted journalists along with personalised pitches to encourage them to read and publish your story. This task can be made easier using a media database.
°Social media and owned media : You can post your press release on your own social media channels and send them out for internal distribution to members within your organisation’s database.
°Newswire Services : These services distribute press releases to a large and broad spectrum of journalists. Similar to a social media newsfeed, a wire service is a platform where press releases can be posted and found by any journalist looking for a scoop that day.
- Post : After the press release is distributed, it is given a permanent place online to allow access to anyone looking for more information in the future. Many organisations have a “Media” or “News” section, where all of these press releases live forever. Companies that don’t have the resources to post to their own website can also post their releases to an external newsroom.
Now that we have a good idea about the life of a press release, let’s take a look at the types of press releases on our next blog.
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