What Are Press Releases and What Is Their Purpose?

Get word of your event out there with a press release

Successful Business Woman

A press release is a written communication that reports specific but brief information about an event, circumstance or other happening. It's typically tied to a business or organization and is provided to media through a variety of means. 

This isn't to say, however, that the media will grab the press release and run it. This may depend on whether the event or circumstance is something that might interest their readers or listeners, or if it benefits the community in some way.

If you're lucky, your press release may be picked up by bloggers, Tweeters and others who read it and find it worthy of promoting within their own social networks.

Two Basic Types of Press Releases

Some press releases are available for "immediate release." This means anyone can share the information as soon as the release is made public. Other press releases may have time limits that allow only certain media sources to report them immediately. They're offered to other news services, websites or blog owners for publication at a later time.

The Main Purpose of a Press Release

There's a difference between "news" and "press releases." Although they're not as clear as they once were in pre-Internet days, media professionals do understand the difference.

The main purpose of all press releases is to promote something significant and specific. A press release serves three marketing and promotional purposes:

  • To let the media know about an event in hopes that will pass the information along
  • To let the media know about your business with the hope that a reporter will see a story in your press release and write an actual news article about it 
  • To help promote your business' appearance on the Internet via blogs, websites and social networks. This is direct readership publicity. 

    Tips for Writing a Press Release 

    Press releases should always be written in the third person. Write it as though you're sharing riveting information. If your information isn't riveting, take a brief step back. Maybe there's something you can add to your event or announcement that will make it more interesting. Of course, that "something" has to really happen. You can't mention that an A-list celebrity will show up at your event when you know full well he won't. Linking your press release to a current trend or happening in the news can also help grab attention.

    The bottom line is that if your event is boring, your press release may be yawn-worthy as well, and no one is going to want to run with it. You'll also want to avoid dry, rigid wording for this reason. You don't want to lose your reader with the first sentence. Using quotes can liven things up. A press release is not just a rendition of facts. 

    What a Press Release Is Not

    A press release is not a guaranteed marketing tool. Temper your expectations. Don't anticipate that every press release you write will always be picked up and passed along by mainstream media sources.

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