Ahh the press release. Perhaps one of the industry’s most iconic tools. For over 100 years, the press release has been used by public relations professionals to provide accurate, from-the-source, noteworthy information to the media and public. And while the method of distribution may have changed over the years, the bones of the humble press release have remained remarkably consistent.
A brief recap…
For the uninitiated, the textbook definition of a press release (aka news release, media release, press statement etc.) looks like this:
Ironically, the broad nature of this definition can sometimes lead to confusion (and it should be noted that not all press releases are “written statements”, video press releases exist as well). To bring the textbook definition down to earth a little bit, a press release is:
- An official statement prepared by an organization;
- Sent to the media with the goal of convincing journalists to publish a story based on the information in the release;
- A message meant to be shared widely with stakeholders and the public;
And why has this particular PR tool withstood the test of time? Because despite its basic nature, press releases continue to give PR practitioners the opportunity to:
- Tell the story their way;
- Present the facts;
- Distribute news quickly and cost-effectively;
- Secure media coverage and publicity;
- Expose the brand and message to a wider audience;
All using one piece of content.
So how does it all work?
Press Release Lifecycle
For a press release to do its job, it will typically go through the following stages: