In simple terms, a press release is when an official statement is delivered either to the public or to targeted members of the media with the purpose of providing certain information. A press release may be delivered directly to the public in order to announce a noteworthy story, or to journalists or reporters with the hope that they will publish the news contained in the release.
What Is the Purpose of a Press Release & How Are They Released?
A press release is generally considered to be a primary and original source of information. They are usually handled by a company’s public relations (PR) department and are typically delivered electronically, though they may also be shared through print.
A press release should grip the attention of the people it is delivered to and, as such, it is generally designed to be a short and compelling piece of news written by a public relations professional that will appeal to its audience and pique interest so that the media members or any others who receive it are assertive to the information it holds.
What Do They Include?
A press release can include information on anything, but it is usually told in a traditional format that includes a headline and a short and snappy body of text.
This information is typically composed of:
- Contact information
- A headline
- A dateline
- A body of text
Furthermore, it is usually complete with a ‘do not use before’ time if it is sensitive information.
The contact information will come first, giving the name/phone number/address of the person who wrote the release and then the headline. Underneath will often come a brief one-line summary of the press release which should also help to ensure the reader is engaged and motivated to read further.
The rest of the body of text should include all the essential information (the Who? What? Where? When? How? and Why?) so that a journalist who is sent the release can easily produce their own story, or so that the public can be clearly and assuredly informed.
This brief statement will often outline major facts of a news story in a journalistic style – it is written in the third person, cites quotes and sources and contains all the essential facts and information.
Finally, a press release is often finished with a description of the company or organisation that is issuing the release, along with some sort of call to action. This may be to participate in an event that is being promoted, take a test of a product that is being advertised, or simply find out more by contacting the author of the press release.
Who Is a Press Release Delivered To?
A press release is an official statement that is often delivered to members of the news media with the purpose of providing them with information so that they may investigate further or publish a story from the contents of the press release.
A press release may alternatively be in the form of an announcement directed for public release. A press release may be delivered directly to the public when there is something noteworthy or of public significance to broadcast.
Are Press Releases Effective?
A press release is a common method of getting information out about a certain story, product or information about a company – but are they an effective form of communication?
A press release offers a great way to create buzz about products, partnerships and any noteworthy news. They are a well-known and recognisable format that can pique the interest of journalists to cover the story or grip the public to share the word on a larger scale.
Their short and snappy format is designed to include all the information without being too long or difficult to follow. This can help to increase its readability and cause the company that releases the statement to gain instant exposure and build trust with its audience.
On the other hand, using a press release can also have its limitations. Due to their shorter format, they may only include the most essential statistics and information and, if you wish to know anything further on the topic, you will need to research it elsewhere.
Especially if a press release is used as a marketing tool it can run into some problems. A press release cannot support a marketing strategy alone. They are limited in reach and can come across as insincere and lacking.
It may be all too easy for a company to produce a press release to showcase the good, but not the bad. The audience of a press release may be led by its bias and lack of further information. Nonetheless, this format remains an essential and trustworthy way for companies to release important information to the desired audience.
What Makes a Good Press Release?
Hopefully by now you have a clearer idea as to what a press release is – but, how do you write a good one? Well, there are plenty of tips and tricks out there to produce an effective press release. However, you can also take a look at our in-depth guide on how to write a press release.