Press releases are an important tool for public relations professionals when communicating with the media. They allow PR teams to share company news, take positions on important issues and events, and manage their company brand. There are multiple types of press statements designed to suit various situations, each with a different tone and motivation.
What is a Press Release?
A press release is a brief news story, official statement, or announcement written by a PR professional on behalf of a company and distributed to the media. They generally adhere to a specific format, are written in the third person, and address the who/what/when/where/why of a story. According to The Balance, their primary purpose is to publicize something significant and specific in a straightforward and concise manner. Each announcement should be newsworthy and pique the interest of the press while containing all the essential information a journalist needs to produce a story. A successful press statement will achieve three marketing and publicity objectives:
- Inform the media of a critical event or development, with the hopes that it will be widely publicized.
- Distribute noteworthy company news to the press so that journalists can broadcast stories to a wider audience.
- Promote your company’s unique brand and online presence through blogs, websites, and social media.
In short, a good story will earn media coverage and attract your stakeholders’ and target audience’s attention.
Why are Press Releases Important?
Press releases are important because they can increase your company’s brand awareness, improve your media relations, and build consumer trust.
Disseminating company statements to the press can boost your brand awareness by promoting your key messages across a wider range of outlets, thus reaching a larger audience.
Further, as the value of online marketing grows, press releases offer new advantages.
Although they may be considered outdated in a world with social media, Forbes Magazine explains that press statements are an important component of your PR strategy, even if they don’t get much media pickup. Considering “SEO and which keywords and search terms you want people to use to find you,” when drafting your statement will work to drive organic traffic to your website.
They are also an invaluable tool for improving your media relations. As you develop relationships with key members of the press, they may come to trust your brand and provide you with more coverage as a result.
Finally, press releases are important to building consumer trust. Even in the event of a PR crisis, releases provide companies with the opportunity to be transparent with their target audience. Because authenticity is at the core of consumer trust – a key driver of consumers’ purchasing decisions – using press statements to address both positive and negative company news alike will increase your credibility among your target audience.
Types of Press Release
Understanding the different types of press releases and under what circumstances to use them will maximize media pickup and impact. When drafting your statement, consider the target audience and stakeholders affected by the story, and how you can best incorporate the relevant key messages your company wishes to promote.
Five common types are:
- Product Launch
- New hire
- Crisis management
New product announcements are beneficial in creating awareness and excitement around a new product or service. These should be written with your target audience in mind. Highlight any modern features and how it’s an improvement from existing products of its kind. Announcing the exciting aspects of a new product allows you to set the tone and establish a unique brand that sets you apart from your competitors. Effective product announcements not only increase brand awareness but can also increase product sales and influence the success of a new product launch. Furthermore, it can result in earned media coverage and, in the case of product launch coverage, cost-efficient advertising.
Promotion, promotion, promotion. The goal of this type of announcement is to inform members of the public of an event you are hosting, attending, or sponsoring. Additionally, it must entice members of the media to attend and cover your event to raise brand recognition. Essentially, it acts as an invitation to the media, stakeholders, or even potential consumers, depending on the occasion. Along with the logistics, your release should offer a compelling incentive to draw people to the event. Will the event raise money for charity or benefit the local community? Will attendees have the opportunity to win something, get the first look at a new product or feature, or be offered exclusive deals? Emphasizing the value of an event is what drives attendance and media coverage.
A new hire announcement can act as a formal notification to customers, investors, and the public of a new member of staff. Generally, these are reserved for executive or leadership hires, particularly those who could be considered a ‘big win’ for company stakeholders. To ensure a new hire is newsworthy, consider how they strengthen your industry position. Incorporate engaging information on what makes this person stand out among other candidates, such as their work history, accomplishments, or unique qualifications. Moreover, demonstrate how they will assist your company to achieve specific goals, like developing an inclusion program or reducing your carbon footprint. Use this as an opportunity to reinforce your company values and explain how this new hire demonstrates your commitment to living up to them.
Partnerships allow your company to amalgamate your customer base with another organization. Use your public statement announcing the partnership to appeal to both audiences and highlight your companies’ shared values and the positive outcomes of the alliance. Setting expectations and outlining any changes the partnership may mean for your company can eliminate any fears that may arise among stakeholders, particularly employees. Communicate the reasons behind the decision, what will be changing, and why your company and consumers should be enthusiastic about it. Explain what challenges this relationship will address and how it will help the brand’s growth, such as through product diversification or access to emerging technology. A successful statement should reassure the target audience that this collaboration will be a success.
Press releases can be an effective form of reputation management during a PR crisis. They provide an opportunity to issue an official company statement on the situation and get ahead of the story. Ensure you outline what happened, take responsibility for your role, and explain how your company plans to provide redress to those affected. The tone of your statement and method of recourse will depend on the nature of the crisis and how much responsibility the company wants to bear for the situation. Transparency via an official company stance halts further speculation and ensures people can look to your organization as a trustworthy source of information. Ultimately, defining the crisis and outlining a roadmap for mitigation will help to restore stakeholder faith in your brand.
Measuring the Success of a Press Release
From building brand awareness to increasing consumer trust, effective press releases can have a measurable influence on your company’s corporate reputation. Media monitoring allows PR teams to measure press pickup and evaluate their impact.
At PublicRelay, we offer bespoke media monitoring programs designed to help your public relations team understand and reach your communications goals. Build your custom media monitoring program now!