A press release is an official announcement in a written or recorded format directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something newsworthy. In reality, anything sent to a reporter whether it is something big or small is still a press release. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors and journalists at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, online media, television stations or television networks. It’s typically tied to a business or organization and provided to media through a variety of means.
Whether to release a press release or not, one should check who is our audience. Are they our friends, families or employees? If yes, a press release is not needed. Otherwise, it is wise to make a press release.
Some of the targeted audience for your press release can be:
- Your local business community
- Your customers
- Your prospects
- Influencers who refer your business
- Potential business partners
- Your vendors
- Other companies in your industry
- Thought leaders in your space
Some of the medium where press releases can be done are:
- Company’s website/blog – these days more of the press releases are self-published press release.
- Also press releases are either sent directly to local newspapers. Editors like having exclusives. If your story is perfect for one particular publication, consider offering it to them alone.
- It can also be sent to free and paid distribution services. The distribution service then provides the content, as-is, to their media outlets for publication which is usually online.
Some of the distribution services are:
- Business Wire
- PR Web
- Published press releases can be shared with the company’s followers via social media and email
- Industry publications
- General news sites
- Industry partners
In order to publish our press releases in local newspapers and magazines, the following points can be taken into consideration:
1. Reach out to specific journalist
Instead of blasting a press release out to every journalist you can find an email address for, focus on a few journalists who have experience covering your industry (and company, hopefully) and send them personalized messages. Connect the dots. Show why what you wrote connects to what they write
2. Try to reach journalist offline
Most journalists have mountains of emails to sort through. Try sending your release through snail mail or another offline channel to differentiate yourself
3. If possible, send your press release to your regular journalist a day before
This will help him to modify the press release a little according to his theme and you can ask to eventually publish this at a later time. This is called embargo. However, not all journalists are willing to do as per our wish.
4. To avoid competition, choose the right time to publish
If you’re publishing your press release on a distribution service like PR Newswire or Business Wire, avoid publishing it on the hour (e.g., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m., or 5 p.m.). The reason? Most companies schedule their releases to go out on the hour, which means if your release goes out on the hour too, it’s more likely to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, try going with a more distinct time (e.g., 1:12 p.m., or 3:18 p.m., or 5:22 p.m.).
The most important stories get sent early in the week, while stories companies want buried usually goes out on a Friday afternoon
Benefit of press release:
For media outlets
- Press release material can be beneficial towards media corporations because releases help decrease costs and improve the amount of material a firm can output in a certain amount of time. Due to the material being pre-packaged, this saves journalists time, not only in writing a story, but also the time and money it would have taken to capture the news first-hand.
- They are a cost-effective way of publicity. Aside from paid distribution, they only cost your time to write.
- To manage a crisis. When things go wrong, it’s often beneficial to break the story yourself first.
- To build your brand’s reputation. Maybe you’re re-launching your brand image and want more people to know.
- To build back links from trusted media sites. This could be when you publish a new e-book, report or blog and you want a reputable source to link back to the information.
Drawback of press release for media outlets
Although the utilization of press release material can save a company time and money, it makes the distributed media boring and similar to the output of other firms. In the digital age, consumers want to get their information instantly and this puts pressure on media companies to output as much material as possible. This often causes them to heavily rely on the use of press releases in order to create their stories.
What are some types of press releases?
Restructuring, expansion, relocation, new locations, strategic partnership, new financial backers or investors are all worthy of a press release.
New products, improved products, new brands, new retail outlets carrying the product could all be announced through a press release.
New internal or external projects that impact the company’s community would be appropriate for a press release.
New hires and promotions are worthy of a press release.
Honors or awards
Awards or special recognition given to a company, product, project, or employee are all press release-worthy.
Releasing the findings of a survey or study of some kind related to the business.
Hosting or attending an event
When something bad happens, it’s best to get in front of it