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Press Release 101

The term press release gets thrown around a lot in the world of public relations and communications. But if PR is not your world (and it’s probably not because you’re still reading, right?) there may still be a little mystery about what a press release actually is, not to mention what they’re used for.

Often, pre-job PR education comes entirely via Samantha Jones and what SEX & THE CITY leads you to believe, that the glamorous world of PR consists of only attending the hottest parties and eating at all of the best new restaurants around town. While, admittedly, this is sometimes true and one of the perks of the job, it is by no means the norm. No, the less-glamorous side of PR consists of a lot of hard work, research and… writing press releases.

Press releases are vital to PR and if you are interested in entering the world of public relations then you need to have a good grasp, not only on how to write one but how to effectively send it out to the press and get your clients the attention that they’re paying you to get! Think of a press release as a key to unlocking the door to publicity and once through that door, making the best, most memorable entrance possible.

  • A press release should always answer the questions: Who, What, When, Where Why. Those are the key things the media needs to be able to easily be able to spot in a press release.

  • Make sure your release follows the standard guidelines: double spaced on white letter head, with contact person’s name, title, company, address and phone-number in upper left-hand corner.

  • A press release should only be written if something noteworthy is happening like an opening, a new campaign launch, business merge or collaboration. For smaller matters, or announcements media alerts or pitches do the job just fine.

  • Make sure your press release is targeted and sent to the correct media outlets that will be interested in the topic. Create a specific and strategic editor list will save you time in the long run.

  • There is no need to embellish the information on a press release, you are not writing an article but rather presenting facts and information to the media. Make sure it is well written but not too long or exaggerated.

  • Find good press release samples online and use them as a guide for formatting.

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