Everywhere I read, someone speaks of the demise of the press release. Perhaps they’re right; we in media relations rarely put “press” in front of “release” to describe company-issued news.
We call it a news release, and the news release is NOT dead.
There were 137 news releases issued on PR Newswire today in the span of 30 minutes, the majority issued at 8 a.m. ET.
News, among those who don’t truly know what news is, can be anything a company announces; however, if it’s hard news then it’s oriented to facts, data, investors, publicly traded companies, major new products with mass appeal (Boeing’s failed jet), global issues, national crises, weather disasters, and other critical news of the day.
Soft news can be anniversaries, events, new books, babies, ribbon cuttings, christenings, restaurant openings, and other items without critically timed orientation.
Regardless of whether a company has soft or hard news to share, the news release is one of the best vehicles with which to distribute news. Here’s why:
- If and when you’re pitching media with that news, a news release written in appropriate journalistic standard and AP style (follow them on Twitter @APStylebook) (typically) is most easily recognizable and accepted by media.
- When a company issues a news release in the format as stated in #1, there’s credibility around that action which requires attention.
- A news release usually goes through several rounds of editing by many layers of teams and professionals (marketing, legal, executives). Once it is approved and ready for publication, it becomes the official word of the company.
- News releases are archived on websites as public record and as an historical queue of stories that inform audiences.
- Media and other writers comb these archives to report on and understand companies, products, and people.
- Executive quotes are readily accessible in news releases and can be printed in a variety of media with attribution to the spokesperson.
- A news release is owned media; your company creates and controls the message. It is used to garner earned media…the story that appears in media outlets featuring much of the news and facts from company-issued news releases.
How is media relations done at your company? If it’s just via a personalized email to multiple email addresses via email marketing, then the message is harder to control.
If the team is using a pre-approved pitch and news release, then everyone is using official language approved by company leadership.
As I said, the news release is NOT dead.