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How to Write a Press Release

Instructor: Tara Schofield
Press releases are an important element in the marketing of a new product, service, or event. This lesson examines how creating an effective press release helps create awareness of a new offering.

What Is a Press Release?

Let's imagine you work for a restaurant chain that is expanding to a new region in the United States. The restaurants are very popular in the Southeast and now the company will be opening new locations in the Southwest. You are responsible for writing a press release to inform media outlets in the new region to help spread the word to potential diners. You write a press release with all relevant facts and distribute it to all of the reporters in the region.

This lesson examines the elements of an effective press release, a document that tells media outlets newsworthy information about a new company, a new product, a new service, or a new program. Effective press releases generate free coverage by newspapers, television stations, radio stations, and all other media outlets.

Writing an Effective Press Release

Reporters can get hundreds of press releases every week but many of them fail to gain media coverage. If you have newsworthy information to share, an effective press release can help you get interest in your story and free media coverage worth thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars. So be sure that your press release stands out by ensuring that it presents information that is:

  • Newsworthy
  • Time sensitive
  • Informative
  • Interesting

Newsworthy

Make sure your story is newsworthy and not just an advertisement for your new product or service. For instance, if a computer store is releasing another brand of computer, the event is likely not newsworthy and will not pique the interest of reporters. However, if a company has completely revolutionized personal computers with a product that is drastically improved over anything on the market, it may have a better chance at getting coverage.

Returning to our restaurant chain example, say that your restaurants are so popular people often travel hundreds of miles to dine at one. Entering a new region will be exciting to diners in the area. In fact, you expect the wait times for seating to easily exceed two or three hours when you first open because demand will be so high. Due to the interest in your restaurant, this story is newsworthy in the areas where new restaurants will open.

Time Sensitive

Press releases are for very recent and upcoming events. If something happened weeks, months, or years ago, there will be no interest in that information. Media channels want new, exciting stories. If your story is outdated, they won't be interested.

In our example, sending out a press release when the locations of your restaurants are announced and again when the restaurants are ready to open offers time-sensitive information. However, if you wait until the restaurants have been opened for six weeks to write a press release, the information is outdated and the press release will not be valuable for reporters.

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