Introduction – What is a Press Release (PR)
A press release (often referred to as a media release) is an official document sent to a news/media organization in order to provide information, make an announcement, or make an official statement from a business or individual. Press releases can be distributed to members of the media both physically and electronically or through a Press Release Distribution Service and is intended to save journalists time by providing a brief of information as well as help market the target business.
Using press release material can benefit media corporations by lowering costs and increasing the amount of material a media firm can produce in a given amount of time. Because the material is pre-packaged, press releases save resources that would otherwise be used to capture the news content firsthand.
Some common examples of where press releases are used include the following:
- New product or service: A company launches a new product or service and wants to inform news outlets about it in order to generate buzz around it.
- Rebrand: A company may change their logo, name or other parts of their branding and want to advise potential customers about this as well as anyone who may come across the business in future.
- Mergers & acquisitions: If a company buys or merges with another entity they will often issue a PR to advise the market of the change which may include potential investors.
- New location: A business may move to a different address or perhaps expand to include another office location for example a tree removal contractor in Australia may expand into another state and therefore now have 2 service areas for customers.
While these are the most common use-cases press releases can be used for overall branding, new events or simply to share thought-leading industry content and attract attention from media outlets.
Benefits of a Press Release
- Branding & authority: Depending on the quality of the release it may be picked up by a high authority publication such as the New York Times, Bloomberg or many others.
- Potential traffic & exposure: Writing and syndicating quality content to various news outlets can help attract traffic back to your business website and potentially result in people contacting you.
- SEO value: Due to the fact that online news websites often include your business details and a link to your website or social profiles you will get some ranking benefits in the search results as the news websites typically are very authoritative thus helping to improve your rankings.
Typical format of a PR document
Here are some common structural elements used in PR documents:
- Letterhead or logo Media Contact Information: Contains name, phone number, email address, mailing address, or other contact information for the public relations or other media relations contact person.
- Headline: Used to catch journalists’ attention and briefly summarize the news article.
- Introduction: First paragraph in a press release, that generally gives basic answers to the questions of who, what, when, where and why.
- Body: Further explanation, statistics, background, or other details relevant to the content.
- Boilerplate: Generally a short “blurb” section, providing independent background on the issuing company, organization, or individual.
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Related links from our technical glossary:
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, May 6). Press release. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_release.