What Is a Press Release? The Quick Guide

Press releases are one-page statements written by a business to share a newsworthy announcement with journalists and media outlets.

This article is part of a larger series on

Press Releases

.

A press release is an approximately 500-word description of a company’s news or newsworthy announcement designed to be shared with, and pique the interest of, journalists and media outlets. Companies with compelling press releases are likely to land press coverage, and with that, a great deal of earned media and exposure.

Keep in mind that for a press release to be effective, you need a newsworthy announcement or story. In addition, you also need to be able to get it in front of lots of journalists, which increases your odds of landing press, and landing more press. To do this, businesses often use a press release distribution service like

eReleases

, which distributes to over 6,000 media outlets.


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How a Press Release Works

Businesses create and distribute press releases to share newsworthy information with journalists and media outlets. These press contacts and media outlets are actively seeking newsworthy press releases. When they find one that piques their interest, they write a story about it, giving a business free publicity and often, a great deal of exposure.

Here’s how a press release works:

Businesses have a newsworthy announcement

A press release is written to share details about the announcement

The press release is distributed to media contacts

If a media contact is interested in the press release, they cover it

The business lands publicity

For example, a business press release might cover anything from the announcement of a new product, to a merger or acquisition, or to announce a significant new hire, such as a C-level executive. The key to a successful press release is having a meaningful story or significant announcement.

It won’t matter how well-written your press release is if it doesn’t actually contain a compelling story. Journalists are looking for stories that are relevant, timely, and of interest to their audiences—whether that’s due to prominence or proximity—and press releases that give them just that are those that get picked up.

You can learn more about what information to include and ways to increase the chance your news story will be picked up by journalists in our article on

how to write a press release

.

Reasons Businesses Send Press Releases

A press release is issued by small businesses to earn positive media for their companies before target audiences. It should be a description of the news story you wish the media to cover with the intention of gaining journalists’ interest in the story. Once published, the publicity can contribute to companies meeting their business goals, including boosting sales, brand awareness, credibility, industry leadership positioning, and lead generation.

Here are some common business goals a press release could help you meet:


Targeted brand awareness:

Many press release distribution services, like

eReleases

, target by region, industry, and audience demographics and interests. You can also send press releases to individual journalists who frequently cover stories intended for your same target audience.


Positive brand image:

You may use business announcements to position your organization in a positive light. For example, you might use press releases to showcase philanthropic events you’re hosting or recent donations.


Credibility:

A positive newsworthy announcement—like a new business launch, a merger, a new hire, or an award announcement—helps to position your company as a more credible one.


Industry leadership:

The right news announcement could help to secure your business’ reputation as an industry leader. A revolutionary product launch, for example, can position your company as a leading product innovator in your industry.


New leads:

With exposure comes the potential to gain leads. Press releases allow you a positive means to get your company before new target audience members. You can even include a call to action that contributes to lead generation.


Sales:

When announcing a product, merger, acquisition, or new business launch, a press release can help attract prospective buyers to your new endeavor. Often, this targeted exposure leads to more sales.

See how other businesses have effectively used press releases to further their business goals, by checking out these

press release examples

.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the difference between a press release & a press statement?

While a press release is issued by a business to get the media talking about company news, a press statement is a company’s reaction to a conversation that is already happening in the news about their business. A press statement is usually shorter than a press release. It gives a company the chance to respond, explain, or offer a rebuttal to a news story so reporters can include your reaction to stories about their business.

Is a press release the same thing as a media alert?

A press release and a media alert are two different things. A press release includes information a journalist needs to decide if a company story would interest their target audience. A media advisory (or a media alert) is an invitation issued to the media asking them to attend an event and to invite their audiences. For example, a media alert may contain an invitation to attend a new store or a book launch, compared to a

book press release

, which announces the publication of a new book.

How do you structure a press release?

Writing a press release begins with choosing a newsworthy angle, setting up a document in a standard press release format, and writing an engaging copy backed by supporting elements such as corresponding images or even video (when applicable). Learn more about what your press release should include by visiting our comprehensive guide on the

types of press releases

.

Bottom Line

Press releases are a tool for sharing a great story with journalists in order to land earned media, or publicity. A strong press release is compelling to journalists and their audiences and can be very beneficial to your business. But for it to successfully land press coverage, it also needs to be distributed to the right people. If you don’t have an established press contact list, distribute your press release with a distribution service, such as

eReleases

.

You Might Also Like…

Learn more other services, like eReleases, that can increase your new story’s exposure by visiting our article on the

best press release distribution services

.

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