A press release is a newsworthy-story written about a company, organization or individual and it is distributed to various media outlets. It is a news story that seeks to show to a reporter or editor how newsworthy a particular product, service, or event is.
The first press release is said to have been drafted by American publicity expert Ivy Lee, who is also known as the father of modern PR. One of his clients, the Pennsylvania Railroad, was involved in a crisis PR when its three-car train jumped a trestle in New Jersey.
The crafty Lee was able to convince the firm to release a public statement, and to provide a special train for the reporters so they can get to the scene of the accident. The New York Times, in response to Lee’s actions, printed the public statement of the Pennsylvania Railroad verbatim on October 1906. That is considered the very first press release.
With the emergence of the Internet as a preferred communication channel, marketers, PR practitioners and even small business owners not only send press releases to traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, and TV
While there are still many old school PR practitioners who remember faxing, mailing, and hand carrying press releases to news organizations, the Internet has changed the paradigm. Today, many press release distribution services offer organizations a convenient means of relaying their prepared statements and stories to reporters, editors, and even bloggers.
Benefits of Press Release
There are many benefits that small businesses, organizations, and companies can get from sending press releases, such as:
1. It can enable a firm to tap a huge customer base
There’s no definitive number of people reading the news on a daily basis, but it is safe to say that this numbers to billions around the world. Just by getting 1 percent of those readers to read a press release would mean tapping a huge customer base that could buy a firm’s product or avail of a service.
This is particularly true with the rise of online news websites, which can be accessed or read in any part of the world. Thus, an engaging and well-written press release has the potential to be read by other readers in different parts of the world. This is not even counting social media, which can make a story viral overnight.
While a press release can turn readers into customers, this doesn’t mean that the media release should be written like an advertisement.
2. It can help establish the source of the press release as an industry expert
Companies and organizations that send out press releases can establish themselves as an industry expert by releasing newsworthy, accurate, and well-written media releases.
Firms use press releases as a means to announce major developments, or share their official reactions to news-worthy events like marketplace developments, industry trends, and legislative developments. Others use press releases to promote an idea or proposal, including tools like surveys and infographics.
3. Improve brand's image
Many companies and institutions distribute a press release not only to announce a new product or service, but also to improve their brand’s image. Companies that distribute press releases are perceived to be trustworthy by the general public. Credibility of these firms is also improved significantly by the fact that companies that send press releases are viewed as authorities in their respective fields.
4. More cost-effective compared to advertising
Another important benefit of
Sending a press release is one of the more economical alternatives to paid advertising. Paid advertising is costly, and there’s a tendency for readers to avoid ads that are too straightforward. On the other hand, sending a press release can increase traffic to a website, and in turn help improve the sales of an online business.
Why Use a Press Release Distribution Service
Many marketing professionals and even PR practitioners are turning to press release distribution services to aid them in sending press releases to media outlets. Most of the PR distribution firms have an extensive network of media contacts, increasing the likelihood that a client’s press release will see print.
These PR distribution companies can also assist in the preparation of press releases. Moreover, these firms can share press release examples and press release template with their clients who have difficulties drafting their own media releases.
Although there are free PR distribution services available online, partnering with a paid PR distribution firm is more practical in the long run. Paid PR distribution firms have a wider network of media outlets, offer client support, and can even assist in drafting of press releases.
With these benefits of sending press releases, it is easy to understand why this is a common practice by small and large companies alike.