Chapter 9: Public Relations Writing
50 The press release
The press release or news release is one of the most common communication materials written by public relations professionals. Press releases are sent to outlets such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines to deliver a strategic message from an organization that the media ideally will publish or broadcast. The primary audience for the press release is reporters and editors, although some organizations publish press releases on their own websites for audiences to view. This may be done due to shrinking newsroom staffs and insufficient resources to develop original content.
Journalists use press releases as a reporting tool, relying on them to provide essential information and therefore make it easier for them to cover a variety of events. With the increase in media channels and demand for social content, some view press releases as an uninteresting way to distribute information and connect with audiences (Galant, 2014). Others see them as a concise and straightforward way to communicate to key publics.
Although the emergence of digital media has challenged public relations professionals to think of nontraditional ways to garner publicity, the use of press releases is still widespread in the profession. Therefore, public relations practitioners should know how to write an effective press release.