In recent years, the relevance of the press release has been a topic of discussion amongst PR and media professionals. Outside of regulatory and disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies, some have questioned: Are press releases necessary? Do media find them useful?
In our work with media, we’ve found that the answer is yes. Journalists and writers do use press releases as a basis for stories, however to generate media coverage, it’s imperative that a press release be used correctly. Below are some tips on using press releases to help tell your story more effectively:
1. Do You Have News to Share? Does your organization have an update or something new to share with the public? If the answer is yes, a press release is a great tool to share your message. If your organization doesn’t have anything new, a customized pitch may be a better method to use with media.
2. Use a Press Release as a Supplement to a Pitch: It’s rare that press releases generate news on their own anymore.Making connections and maintaining media relationships are key in getting your story told. Use a pitch to point out specifically why the journalist might be interested in the news and offer some potential angles that are relevant to their beat. Use the press release as a glorified fact sheet for the writer to then reference and pull out the news.
3. Consider a Press Release to Best Control and Manage the Message. Does your organization need to communicate something important to your customers or community? For example, a closure, change in operations, or a crisis issue? Depending on the situation, sending out a press release can be an effective way to share your message with many stakeholders simultaneously.
4. State the Facts: A press release should state the client’s news and straight facts. Keep your language concise and jargon free. To add credibility, consider including statistics or research that support your announcement or make your news relevant to the current times. Company executives should provide thoughtful and helpful quotes on the relevance of the news announcement and why it is important.
5. Highlight Growth: The main purpose of a press release is to tell part of a brand’s story. When included on a company’s website, press releases can help share the storyline of what a company has accomplished. This can be especially important for younger organizations looking to highlight their growth to customers or other stakeholders.