What Is the Purpose
of a Press Release?

Want to earn unpaid media coverage?
It all starts with a press release.

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Press releases aren’t just for large corporations and high-profile public figures. Your small to midsize business can also leverage the genre to connect with existing customers and new audiences, thereby expanding your reach, strengthening your credibility and enhancing your overall brand image.

Here, we explore why (and when) you should consider writing a press release. But first — what exactly is a press release?

What is a press release?

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A press release is a short news story issued on behalf of a person or organization to members of the media. Press releases may share news, make announcements or address public events. Considered a primary source of information, journalists have the option to publish the pieces as received or incorporate them into an original story.

Why issue a press release?

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To put it simply, press releases provide relevant information in a format that makes it easy for journalists to publish or cite. Any significant events or changes in your business — such as a grand opening, a product launch, a merger or expansion, a significant charitable donation or a new executive hire — are potential fodder for press releases. That being said, not every story will garner media attention. The key is to find an angle that appeals to the interests of particular readers or viewers, then identify members of the press with a history of covering similar topics.

Let’s say, for example, your commercial furniture company just hired a new regional sales leader, Sally Sellsalot. This fact in and of itself may be relevant to your team members and clients. But to earn unpaid placement in a publication, you have to find an interesting angle that will appeal to a wider audience.

You might start by searching for journalists who write about local business news. Do you notice any recurring themes or topics in the writers’ pieces, such as a focus on sustainability, architecture and design or construction? If so, consider how Sally’s professional history or goals might fit within those topics. Perhaps, for example, she plans to seek partnerships with clients who are working to reduce their environmental impacts. You might craft a story about how Sally’s hiring forms part of a larger push for sustainability initiatives within the company.

Even well-crafted, strategically delivered pitches sometimes fail to attract media interest, but carefully considering whom you pitch to and how you frame the story will give you the best shot of landing a placement. 

A breakdown of the components of a press release.
A press release should be ready to publish as-is when it reaches the journalist’s inbox.

When Should I Write a Press Release?

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The short answer is: anytime something newsworthy occurs in your organization. Let’s look at a few of the most common situations in which a press release may support your overall marketing strategy.

You’re Launching a New Product or Service.

Whenever your business launches a new product or service, it’s crucial to get the word out. A press release helps inform your target audience, potential investors and the general public about what’s new and exciting in your business. This helps you generate buzz, drive website traffic and boost sales.

You’ve Reached an Important Milestone.

Is it your company’s 10th anniversary? Did you just serve your millionth customer? These types of milestones are worth celebrating and sharing with your audience. A press release can help showcase your company’s growth, longevity and success.

You Made a Major Personnel Change.

When significant changes occur within your company’s leadership, it’s important to share the news. A press release allows you to introduce new faces, highlight their qualifications and craft a positive narrative around the change — all of which project vitality and put customers at ease.

You Need to Respond to Industry News.

If there’s a significant development in your industry or your business is directly affected by a trending news story, a press release can show that you’re engaged and responsive. Moreover, it gives you a chance to showcase your expertise and position your business as a thought leader.

You’re Involved in a Crisis.

Should your business face a crisis, such as a product recall or a public relations issue, it’s vital to handle the situation proactively. Issuing a press release allows you to control the narrative and demonstrate responsibility to your audience.

A well-crafted press release isn’t just a tool for sharing news; it’s a strategic component of your overall marketing approach. It enables you to communicate important developments, shape public perception and engage with your audience in a new way. Knowing when and how to seek earned media placement is a key part of this strategy.

Looking for an expert to help craft your next press release? Our copywriters know a thing or two about successful pitches. Let’s talk about a media strategy that will attract the right kind of attention to your business.

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