Press releases are written to convey a message to target audiences. They contain information about your company, about people in your company, and activities and milestones that relate to your business. Think of the press release as an announcement to publicize newsworthy information.
The press release is the single most important means of communication between a company or entrepreneur and their public audiences. Even in the digital age of cell phones and social media, the press release is the most basic tool to tell your most current story. It encapsulates facts and pertinent information in an organized way and it is distributed to target media where you might want to be seen.
There are always good reasons for companies, professionals, and entrepreneurs to issue press releases. Here are some examples of times when you should spread the word through the press release:
- Project engagements – an engineering firm is awarded the contract to design a new bridge
- New developments – a real estate developer is building a residential community or skyscraper
- Milestones – a corporation is celebrating its 25th anniversary or relocating its headquarters
- Executive promotions – a business names a new president or sales director
- Financial and sales reports – quarterly earnings report or annual financial statement; market reports
- Special events – contests, celebrations, cross-promotions, christening of a boat
- Studies or survey results – use survey results and statistics as a lead into the press release
- Trends – a consumer or business trend can be the basis of a press release
Writing a Press Release and Distributing it
- A well-written press release has a lead that engages the interested party. Start by including who, what, where, when, why and how in the first paragraph.
- Relate the news to current trends, studies and surveys, and holidays. Make the information timely.
- Send the press release to target audiences: reporters that cover your industry; clients and shareholders; vendors and partners; and others that follow your company.
- Send the press release to publications that are interested in your type of business. Read the magazine or newspaper first to find the name of the editor or reporter that covers your industry.
- Distribute the press release through an online distribution service, some of which are free. Suggested distribution services are PRNewsWire and BusinessWire.
- Send the press release to your email list that you have personally developed. Add a personal note.
- Post the release on the News page of your website. Post the release on your blog.
- Mail printed copies of the release to select targets, with a brief personal note, “Thought you might be interested.”
- Add a link on your Facebook fan page.
Editors are looking for well-written, timely press releases. Sometimes, a press release can end up as an article in a publication. That’s good public relations.