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The Making of a Press Release: Part 1 of 3 (Planning)

The press release also know as the news release is a very useful marketing communications tool. This commonly used public relations tactic is simply a document intended to provide "news worthy" information to the media ie newspapers, broadcast TV, radio and periodicals. The Wall Street Journal has publicly stated that approximately 50% of their content comes from press releases. Other newspapers and periodicals state that up to 75% of their content comes from press releases.

Why has the media placed so much importance and reliance on the press release? Its very simple. Journalist have moved away from gathering information and more into processing and editing information. Additionally the news industry has many players and this has made the industry very competitive. All the competition requires news outlets to be efficient and quick.
Special Reports and Breaking Stories used to be a very important story. Today the Special Report is virtually gone and the Breaking Story is nothing more than the most recent story that has some importance or has shock value. The news industry is all about SPEED and ease of getting stories. They need "good" stories now even if there may be some missing information and inaccuracies.
So how do the news folks do it. They use the unpaid reporter...the public relations writers of press releases.

When PLANNING a press release, one should identify the:

  • key message; usually in one or two sentences
  • primary public (audience)
  • benefits sought by the primary public that your product, service or cause will fulfill
  • desired outcome from the press release ie awareness, information, recall, follow-up, etc

After you have done this the next step is to write the press release as if you were a journalist. Make it easier for the journalist and the better your chances of having your press release read. Do a very good job and the press release will end up in the news.

To learn more about FORMATTING a press release see Part 2 of 3; and to learn more about the CONTENT of the press release see Part 3 of 3.

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