Published on February 14, 2019, at 3:45 p.m.
by Dasia Greer
The construction and distribution of press releases are of great importance in the field of public relations. The press release announces new products and services, events, recent hires; formally addresses issues; and responds to crises. It has become one of the most effective communication channels between an organization and its targeted publics and the media by announcing newsworthy information unattainable from any other source.
According to Risdall, newsworthiness is defined as anything that “sparks human interest and causes people to want to pay attention or participate mentally and/or physically in the released information.” Press releases provide the media and its publics with pertinent, newsworthy information to clarify, address and announce.
Just like many other channels of communication, the press release has to be strategically constructed in order to be effective. Thus, there are many do’s and don’ts. Below are a few.
Be clear and concise.
Incorporate the inverted pyramid method into your press release by placing the most important information at the beginning. The inverted pyramid method organizes the information by its newsworthiness and importance. Most people have short attention spans, so don’t assume every reader will read the press release in its entirety.
Remember your target audience.
Strategically tailor your press release for your intended audience. Risdall advised, “A press release should be written differently to appeal to culinary magazines than if it were geared toward food truck companies.”
Include a media contact.
Announcing newsworthy information leads to interview requests and general inquiries. It is the job of the communications department to handle all interactions between the organization and the media and/or the public. Most press releases list a company contact to facilitate the interaction process.
Including hyperlinks to your company’s website and social media makes it easier for the public to collect more information, and will also increase traffic to your site if the media picks up the release.
Don’t exaggerate or make false claims.
When writing a press release, verify that all information is correct before including it in your press release. Reporting false information can cause turmoil and will reflect badly on your organization.
Don’t use slang or jargon.
It is vital to maintain a high level of professionalism anytime you are speaking on behalf of an organization, so the use of slang is unacceptable in any shape, form or fashion.
Don’t forget to proofread.
With any written work, it is imperative that you proofread. The more you proofread a piece of work, the more errors you find. The last thing you want in a press release is a grammatical error. It diminishes the company’s credibility and level of professionalism, plus its just embarrassing.
Press releases disseminate newsworthy information to the public; therefore, they serve a great purpose to the field of PR. In order to craft a well-structured press release, it is important to take all of the previously mentioned tips into consideration and to conduct additional research as well.