What is a Press Release?
A press release is a written document prepared for the media – also called the press – that announces something newsworthy. This 1-3-page document is disseminated to the media in the hopes that reporters and editors will use the information contained within in an upcoming TV or radio broadcast, in a newspaper or magazine issue, or on the media’s website.
Reasons for a Press Release
There are a number of situations that might call for the use of a press release, such as:
- Company announcement – Restructuring, expansion, relocation, new locations, strategic partnership, new financial backers or investors are all worthy of a press release.
- Product announcement – New products, improved products, new brands, new retail outlets carrying the product could all be announced through a press release.
- Initiative announcement – New internal or external projects that impact the company’s community would be appropriate for a press release.
- Employee announcement – 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.
- Research results – Releasing the findings of a survey or study of some kind related to the business.
The key question to ask yourself before preparing one is, “Who cares about this information?” And as long as the answer is people who will turn to the press for information, you’re on the right track with your press release.
On the other hand, if the only people who will be interested in this information is your family and friends, or even your employees, then you really don’t need a public press release.
What a Press Release Looks Like
To make it clear to members of the press – reporters, writers, and editors – that the information you’re giving them is a press release for their use, and not an advertisement or letter to the editor, you need to send it in press release format. Yes, there is a specific format you should use when preparing a press release. Here are some of the key features: