A press release is an official statement about your business sent to journalists and media outlets that informs a relevant audience about newsworthy information. Press releases are typically around 500 words and follow a standard format consisting of a headline, summary paragraph and body copy. Types of press release include new hire announcements, sponsored events and partnerships.
One of the hardest parts about creating a press release is knowing how to send it. eReleases, our recommended press release service, sends your press release to thousands of media agencies including The Associated Press, PR Newswire, and other media agencies and journalists. Check out eReleases and get 33% off your first press release today.
How a Press Release Works
A press release works in three phases. First, your business identifies a newsworthy event to share like a new hire or new product launch. Then, you write a press release surrounding this specific focus — following a strict format — and send it to relevant media outlets, either manually or with a distribution service like eReleases. Media agencies then publish it on their website or other news outlets, communicating your event to your intended audience.
Here are three primary phases of a press release life cycle:
- Identify a newsworthy event for the press release: Determine the event, announcement or business activity that you want to discuss as a newsworthy press release topic. In order for something to qualify as “newsworthy,” it should be relevant to the interests of your customer base or industry.
- Write the press release: Well-written press releases contain specific structural elements in a certain order. These elements include the headline, date, opening paragraph, body, boilerplate information and contact information. Online press release services make it easy to include these correct elements. For more information, check out our how-to section below.
- Send the press release: There are three main ways to send a press release. First, you can send it yourself to a list of journalists and media agencies. Second, you can submit your press release using free online service. Third, and most commonly, you can send it using a paid service like eReleases.
The main benefit of a press release is that it is mentioned in the news or similar media, either locally or nationally. This gives your business key exposure and communicates relevant information to your customers or industry trade publications. An additional benefit is when journalists reach out to you in response to your press release, asking for more information or for an interview. In such cases, you may get featured in a news article or mentioned in a local radio or TV spot.
Once you send your press release, you can assess its impact by following up with contacts on your press list or by reviewing the report that is usually included with an online paid press release service. Sending press releases out regularly can help to keep your business in the local awareness and to shape your identity within a certain industry or community.
How to Write a Press Release
Press releases follow a strict, 11-element format. Writing a press release involves determining your press release focus, developing a headline and subheadline, and then creating the body of the release and adding boilerplate information at the end. Your press release should be about a newsworthy event related to your business and be around 500 words.
To help, check out our guide on the press release format, which provides more insights into the elements of a press release:
Here is how to write each section of a press release:
- Company logo at the top: If you are using an online press release provider, you should be able to upload your logo to be included in the press release. Adding this visual identity helps to enhance your brand’s image and memorability.
- Your contact information: Contact information should be the name, phone number and email address of the person sending the press release.
- The release date: Typically, the release date is the date you send the press release. You may a future date, which is referred to as being under embargo.
- The press release headline: This is the most important element in any press release since more people will see your headline than any other part of the release. The headline should contain your business name and a brief description of the newsworthy event.
- A subheadline: This optional line, a single sentence or fragment, expands on the headline by answering any immediate questions, specifying more details and drawing the reader into the story.
- The dateline: This line names the city and state where the press release was published. This line is important especially if you are a local business angling for an impact in your area.
- The opening paragraph: The first paragraph begins the body of the press release and is the most important section of the body. This paragraph should answer five questions: who, what, where, when and why.
- Additional body paragraphs: The remainder of the body consists of several hundred words that develop and build out the story. It is standard practice in this section to include a quote from a company leader or spokesperson.
- Boilerplate: The term “boilerplate” refers to a standard closing paragraph that describes the business and its products, services or history. This paragraph comes at the very end of the press release (after the body) and should be 30 to 100 words long. Describe your business in order to give the reader a clear idea of what your business does.
- End notation: Press releases often end with three hashtags — ### — to indicate the conclusion. Most online press release providers include this information automatically.
- Final note: It’s an optional element, but you may wish to add a final sentence, often directed at journalists, inviting them to find out more. This line may request them to give you a call or send you an email for more information.
For more information, read our detailed article on exactly How to Write a Press Release. There, you’ll find a complete breakdown of each press release element and how to make them all stand out.
How to Send a Press Release
There are three methods of sending a press release, emailing it to media contacts, selecting a free online service or using a paid service. To send it yourself, create a PDF of the release and email it as an attachment to journalists and media outlets. Using an online press release service involves uploading your press release and following the steps outlined by the service itself.
We recommend using a paid press release service. Paid press release services save time, and you gain far wider visibility than using a free service or sending it yourself. Our top selection for a paid press release service provider is eReleases. You can get 33 percent off your first press release.
Sending a Press Release Yourself
In order to send a press release yourself, you will need to create a list of journalists, called a media list or press list. Developing this list can take months or even years since it involves establishing a working relationship. The best press list consists of individuals you get to know personally, and who can publish information to a relevant audience or industry.
Here are the steps involved in creating a press list and sending your release:
- Identify the correct media agencies and the individuals within those media agencies who publish content in front of your target audience.
- Establish a relationship by introducing yourself and your business and explaining that you would like to reach out to them when you have newsworthy information to share.
- Send them an email and attach a press release whenever you have a newsworthy event.
- Follow up with them to see if they need additional information or if you can help in any way.
Pros and cons of sending a press release to your own press list:
Sending a press release yourself is a good approach for companies that have the time and resources to curate a press list and cultivate valuable, long-term relationships. The process is free, of course, but can be time-consuming. For detailed information on finding local media outlets and journalists, please review our article, “How to Get Local Press Coverage.”
“I try not to send out press releases en masse. I often will send out an email with a personal note to reporters telling them about our news. You have to tell them why your pitch is relevant to them and, more importantly, to their audience.” — Susan R. Miller, co-owner of Garton-Miller Media
Sending a Press Release Using a Free Service
There are a number of websites that provide free press release distribution. Syndication levels are low to nonexistent, however, and the value vs. the time it takes to use the services is dubious. In order to gain value from these sites, you should send your release through several different ones at once.
Here’s what to know about the good and the not-so-good of free press release services:
For an in-depth look at the best free press release providers available, please read our article on the Top 5 Press Release Distribution Services.
Sending a Press Release Using a Paid Service
Most businesses choose to send a press release online using one of the many press release services like eReleases. To send a press release online, you create your account and then follow each step of the process which often involves copying and pasting copy from a press release draft.
Press release sites help to format your press release correctly and syndicate it to a large network of journalists, freelancers, industry insiders and media outlets. The main reasons to send a press release online is that it saves time, is easy to use and you can gain thousands of impressions through press release syndication.
These are the pros and cons of using a paid press release service:
To read more about paid press release distribution services, including our top pick, please read the article, Best Press Release Distribution Services for 2018.
Our number one choice for paid press release distribution services is eReleases due to their affordable cost, ease of use and vast syndication network. Sign up today and get 33 percent off your first press release.
Reasons to Send a Press Release
You should write a press release whenever something newsworthy takes place in your business. A newsworthy event is something that would be of interest to more than a few dozen people in a local community, industry or special interest group. If you have a small to medium-sized company, try to send a press release every other month, based on a specific focus.
Here are some of the most common reasons for sending a press release:
- Hiring a new employee
- Announcing a new product
- Offering a new service
- Releasing a book or music album
- Publishing a study or whitepaper
- Opening a new location
- Celebrating a business anniversary
- Celebrating an employee who earned recognition or an award
- Making a comment or connection with a community event
- Hosting an event
- Having an employee or leader speaking at an event
- Gaining recognition from a national media source
- Partnering with another business, vendor or service provider
- Contributing to a charity organization or cause
- Announcing internship opportunities
- Announcing scholarship opportunities
Press Release Costs
A press release costs range from $0 to $500, depending on the level of features and the extent of syndication. To send it for free, choose a free press release service or develop a press list and distribute it manually. Paid services cost from $300 to 500 and will publish and syndicate your press release to thousands of outlets.
Here is a summary of each of these three methods and the press release costs for each one:
- Sending it to a press list that you create yourself (free): This option is free but takes time and effort. For an in-depth treatment of getting press coverage, check out our article on How to Send a Press Release, which will help you better understand what is a press release and why it’s beneficial.
- Submitting it to a free press release service (free): Free services are often challenging to use and have limited syndication. Our article, Best Free Press Release Distribution Services, provides a thorough overview of the options. If you go this route, we recommend submitting to as many as possible to widen reach.
- Submitting it to a paid press release service ($300-500): Paid services are the most common method of sending a release because they save time and gain high levels of visibility. Read our review of the Best Press Release Distribution Services.
Our recommendation is to use eReleases, our top press release distribution service. You will gain much wider syndication than any other option while also saving time and hassle. eReleases has a more than 5,000 partners, including major media companies like Fox, CNN, and the Associated Press. Get 33 percent off your first press release.
Importance of Sending a Press Release
Sending a press release allows your business to get in front of your target customers. Many businesses choose to send press releases every one or two months in order to sustain their visibility in their community or industry.
Here are some of the benefits of sending a press release:
- Earning massive exposure by having your press release syndicated to thousands of sites
- Getting interviewed by journalists
- Gaining exposure to a wider audience or different customers
- Positioning your business as a well-known entity
- Giving your brand credibility
- Creating more brand mentions and citations
- Curating relationships with local news agencies and journalists
- Getting syndicated by major publications like Bloomberg and Financial Times
- Improving and building your business reputation
Press Release Samples
Press releases can cover a variety of topics, so we’ve assembled a few top examples of press releases for different purposes. Every press release sample provided here follows the standard structure while differentiating the copy to address the newsworthy event.
Here are examples of various press release types:
- New product launch press release: This press release from TV Ears announces the release of a new product, explaining its features and how the new product makes a difference in the marketplace
- Partnership announcement press release: If your company makes an acquisition, hires a new vendor or forms a new relationship, it makes for a great press release topic since more than one company is involved
- Press release highlighting a charity donation: Bringing awareness to your business’s charitable giving is an excellent newsworthy event; this type of press release engenders goodwill in the community while also sharing the spotlight with an organization that is creating positive change
- Book launch press release: One of the most popular categories of press releases are those highlighting a new book or album; this example highlights the identity of the author and entices readers to purchase the new book
- Anniversary press releases: Often, a worthy reason for a press release is the longevity of your business; when you publish an anniversary press release, you can highlight the accomplishments of your business and the way it has enhanced your local community
- New hire press release: Many businesses choose to publish a press release when they make a new hire, and this article provides several examples of such a press release topic, along with detailed instructions for writing your own
Additional examples in our article, Top 40 Press Release Examples from the Pros, can serve as a guide when you are creating your own press release.
The Bottom Line – What is a Press Release?
Press releases, which feature news about your business and are shared with news agencies, are a core marketing technique for a business of any size. Press releases allow your business to get noticed by the people who matter, helping you to increase your customer base and revenue. Sending a press release requires little more than submitting it to an online service ($300 to $500) using a free service or sending to a press list.
Understanding what is a press release can be challenging, especially when it comes to selecting a press release distribution service. For the cost and effectiveness, eReleases is a top-shelf choice. Your release will be distributed to thousands of relevant journalists. Sign up today and get 33 percent off your first release.