Producing and distributing a press release is the standard way for a company to make an announcement it hopes will receive further coverage from the press. Also called a news release or media release, this statement can be detailed or feature only announcement highlights. Either way, press releases always include the contact information for the person designated to field subsequent press queries—usually a member of the public relations (PR) team.
Traditionally, press releases were strictly written documents submitted to newspapers. In this digital age, however, press releases can take many forms—including audio and video—and are distributed to television stations, radio stations, industry publications, and more. Commonly, press releases are electronically posted to wire services like MarketWire, BusinessWire, PR Newswire, PRWeb, and more. From there, the press has access to “pick up” the content to either use as-is or contact the company for more information.
Press releases are effective marketing tools because they are designed to gain exposure around a significant, newsworthy announcement. If a press release posted on a wire service gets picked up by several outlets, for example, that will increase page reads, backlinks, and referrals that contribute to link-building and search engine optimization strategies. In addition, press releases help companies fine-tune their messaging. Besides on news outlets, press releases can also generate conversations on social media platforms, presenting opportunities for brands to engage with their audience.
Marketers and PR teams can produce press releases for a variety of reasons, including to announce a new product or service, release information about financial performance, share awards, and accolades, and note changes in company leadership.
There are potential drawbacks of the press release, too: Marketers could find them not cost effective, for example, and/or difficult to measure.
IMA has compiled a list of helpful tools and services to support your media relations, press release management, and press release distribution efforts
There is also a list of PR firms on our site here.