A press release, sometimes referred to as a media release or news release, is a printed or electronic document issued by entrepreneurs, non-profits or businesses who want to communicate vital news to editors, journalists, industry writers, or other media groups. If a journalist feels the content in your press release is considered newsworthy, they will write a story for their publication.
The press release is one of the most important tools an entrepreneur or small business can have in your public relations program. It can quickly communicate to a journalist who you are, about your business and why their readers would be interested.
The news release contains important facts, quotes from key people, dates that the news happened (or will happen), and contacts for additional information. Your news release must be clear and concise and normally runs no longer than two pages.
Editors know best what their readers are interested in. They follow the five W’s tradition of reporting: who, what, where, when and why (and sometimes how). When drafting your news release pitch make a point to answer the five Ws. Use the five Ws as a means of getting the attention of the editors you are pitching to.
When you tell your story, make the news interesting and relevant to the publication and their audience. I cannot stress that enough. Your release must be timely and newsworthy. Understanding the five W’s will help you to craft your story. The who, what, where, when, why and how are the six vital ingredients of all press releases.
- The ‘what’ is the subject of your release – a product launch, new management appointment, or an interesting event. It is the subject or the ‘hook’ that grabs attention.
- The ‘who’ usually consists of your company, spokespersons or other authorities quoted in your news release. It deals with all the persons involved. The ‘who’ could also be the person(s) in the press release that are providing the quote or statement.
- The ‘where’ is the location that the ‘newsworthy’ event has or will take place.
- The ‘when’ is the date and/or time that the specific event will or has taken place. This is a key element. Your press release must be timely. Submit it just before the event or immediately after for it to be considered news.
- The ‘why’ is what makes the story important or newsworthy to the public. This is where you are sharing why this event will have an impact to the readers.
With the five Ws covered, the next step is to structure the release so that it gets the media’s attention. Look for more about structuring the press release in the next post.
So, are you using a press release as part of your marketing strategy? Share what you have done and the impact that it has made on your business.