Let’s Talk Press Releases

Let’s start off by talking about what a press release is. A press release is an official statement issued to media that will report information about an event, circumstance, or other happening. A press release is a way for businesses to provide information to media in hopes to promote themselves or a product. A press release will serve two purposes:

  1. To let the media know about a new product or an event your company is hosting, in hopes that they will choose to publish and pass along your information to their readers.
  2. To let the media know about the business! Maybe you’re new to the business world, maybe you offer something unique. Either way, a press release can be used to invite a reporter to write a story about your business.

A Few Questions to Ask

If you think you have something interesting for the media and public, answer these questions first to help you decide if a press release is the best fit.

  • Is there a business reason for a press release? It is important to focus on what you want the press release to solve. Discuss the results you think a press release will benefit your company and see if those align with what you’re hoping to accomplish. Often times, there are better ways to announce a new product or showcase an event that is happening.
  • Does anyone outside of your company care about this news? In other words, is it even newsworthy? A common mistake that businesses make is to write a press release about something that isn’t of interest to the public. Or to write a press release about something that is no longer newsworthy. Timeliness is important in the news/media world. If you want your press release to run, then make sure you’re writing it while, if not before, it is still newsworthy, and not three weeks after the fact.
  • Can it be told in one sentence? Media and their readers are looking for the point of the press release in the first sentence. Writing it in one sentence will grab your reader’s attention, and will let them decide if they want to continue reading on for more details. If what you are writing about takes a paragraph to explain, then maybe a press release isn’t best suit this time.

Something to keep in mind about a press release is that they don’t guarantee a published story. Press releases are sent to the media and it is up to them to choose whether or not they will publish your press release or turn it into an article.

What are some other dos and don’ts that you have found useful when writing a press release?