The Press Release: Does It Still Work?

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Think old school public relations, you’ll probably picture the press release. Full of boilerplates, headings, and jargon, press releases have been a staple of public relations agencies for over a century. However, at the turn of the digital age, the relevancy for the traditional press release has reduced. Despite this, though, the press release still has its place in public relations. In this blog, we lay out what a press release is, when you need one, and how to craft the best one for your announcements. 


What is a Press Release? 

Short, informative and formal are three words that encapsulate the traditional press release. Written by public relations professionals, press releases are used to pique the interest of journalists to learn more and cover the story. Today, press releases are generally placed online, either on sites like PR Newswire and/or on the company’s website on a press page.  


When Do You Need One? 

Decades ago, a company wrote a press release when they had any kind of announcement – a change of leadership, new product, new store opening, a rebrand, etc. Today, however, use press releases sparingly as to not oversaturate the news cycle and have your business be buried (or worse, blacklisted) by journalists. Keep in mind that a press release is not a guaranteed marketing tool. This means that once it is published, there is no guarantee that a journalist or publication will pick it up. Therefore, you need to pick and choose when you want to invest the manpower and money into publishing a press release. Ensure that your announcement meets at least 3 of the 7 tiers of newsworthiness — is it impactful, timely, locally relevant, have a human interest element, a conflict, something bizarre, or involve a celebrity? If it meets this criteria, move on to the writing phase. 


How Do You Write One? 

Once you’ve decided to write a press release, you need to know how. Keep it short, simple, and exciting. Use language that the general public would be familiar with. Make it sound more like a news article and less like a marketing tool. Include a few quotes from someone you want to represent the company, and ensure that they are ready for print. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that every sentence could be placed seamlessly into an article. 


If you’d like to learn more about press releases, click here.