A press release, also called a news release, is a written statement issued by an individual or a company to the media about its latest activities. In a typical press release, a company will proclaim the arrival of a new product, service, event, or some other news. It will also announce any changes it intends to make in its business or current affairs. A press release, unlike a news article, is not newsworthy and is designed only to provide information to the media. Unlike news articles, however, press releases must be submitted to established media organizations for publication within a reasonable time period. While the overall purpose of a press release may be to disseminate information to the public, a press release has many other useful purposes.
First, a press release should be newsworthy. A press release about, say, a new Honda model, would be newsworthy, but not so newsworthy that it warrants the printing or publishing of a whole news report. The story could be an important one, with a reasonable chance of being printed and published. But a Honda model, which happens to be the latest model on the Honda bus fleet, is not likely to be of interest to any reporters. So the company’s press release about the latest model, which merely announces a positive change in business, is newsworthy as far as the company is concerned. It is newsworthy only to those reporters who have a need to get the information and who are interested in covering the event.
Build the public relations
Another important reason that a company would want to issue a press release, other than simply informing the public, is to use the press release as a way to build its public relations program. Public relations, in simple terms, are a marketing technique that allows a business to tell the public what it does, who it is, and why they need to know. A well-written press release about a new product or service can be a very effective way to build a public relations program. If the product or service has not been released to the public, it may still be worth the trouble of issuing a release, because it tells the public more about the company than any amount of advertising could.
When the press releases begin to appear regularly in the media, the company benefits in several ways. First, the company gets to be on the front pages of several newspapers and magazines. Because this announcement is newsworthy, it does increase the readership of the newspapers and magazines. At the same time, it tells the reporters covering the story that the company is behind an important initiative, that it is optimistic about the outlook for its business, and that the writers are anxious to learn more. This helps build relationships with the reporters, who appreciate the gesture and are more inclined to write favorably about the company.
A major benefit to the company launching a new product or service is that it uses the press release format to build its credibility. A journalist covering an upcoming event will often talk to someone from the launch organization. The launch manager or company spokesperson is interviewed, often by the same reporter, and then released to the media. Because of the contact the company makes with the journalists covering the event, the launch is given more credence by the mainstream media. The story becomes more prominently displayed in newsstands and on television.
The advantages of using press releases to enhance public relations are clear. Companies need to compete in today’s market, and one way to do that is to be seen as being on the cutting edge of current trends. Using this format helps to give the public relations department a major boost. It is a powerful tool for communicating the latest news and information regarding the company. Since many journalists are already trained to write favorably about new products or services, this form of communication proves very effective.