A Complete guide about press releases
In this article, we will cover an important type of media outreach call press releases, and we will show you when you should be using it, where to put a press release out, the typical costs involved per press release, some press release templates and lastly we will show you how to use a cool tool that lets you copy your existing PR/email pitch and will show you examples of similar press releases put out there in popular PR outlets.
1.0 What is a press release?
A press release (also known as a news release) is a targeted 1-pages, 350–1500 word document that is solely designed to share some breaking news to the public. The idea is that your press release will distributed to thousands of news outlets that will in turn write a story on your PR and helping you disseminating your breaking news widely.
This is one of the major types of traditional media outreach. The other major method is a targeted media outreach where you try to build a personalized database of journalists with a similar topic of interest and you reach out to them personally either through social media such as Linkedin or Twitter or email them directly.
However, there are some situations when you need a wider dissemination platform and its actually better for you to go via the press release route.
A third option is combining the two approaches above by first putting out a press release and sending in a cover letter of sorts your media contact list to ensure that you get maximize your chances of getting news stories out of your press release, which is ultimately the end goal of all media outreach efforts, right?
2.0 Types of Press Releases
The basic rule of thumb is you should commission a press release whenever you have something newsworthy to share for wide dissemination. This includes:
- Awards: Awards are by design mediums of self promotion and press releases can help you amplify it’s impact by garnering press appropriate to the size of your award. For example if you get an award by the local chamber of commerce or a trade association than your press release helps you get a story in local press. However, if the award in international (think Oscars, Nobel prize etc.) than you not only get international press, but frequently the organization giving you the award will also help you deal with the media by having an appropriate media kit and credentialed journalists at the event itself removing the need for a press release after the event. Hence in our experience, press releases for awards work well for specialty awards. Examples include a recent press release from a doctor who won an award from Philadelphia Academy of Surgery and a real estate company winning a local award.
- Book launches: Lots of major publishers as well as independent (self-publishing) authors put out a press release to announce their book launches. Example include book launch for a mystery series, a debut book launch by a indie publisher.
- Crisis management: when something bad happens, it’s best to present your spin of the events by putting out your own press release. There is no one size fits all template for this type of press release since its so dependent on the type of crisis facing your business. Typically, drafting of these types of press releases are best left to seasoned PR professionals with years of experience in crisis and reputation management who can consult with your legal team to draft the text of the press release.
- Nonprofits and charitable and advocacy groups: One of the most important ways a nonprofit and advocacy campaigns garner press is by the press releases route. There are many good examples of effectiveness of such a campaign, but none as effective as the prop 24 campaign where Californians successfully pushed new rules for online privacy. Advocacy groups such as Californians for consumer privacy pushed out atleast a dozen press releases on this topic in the run-up to the election that highlished every endorsement their movement got from a high profile union, politician, celebrity etc. At the same time they also effectively used it to frame a narrative and push stories to highlight perceived corruption and malpractices of their opponents .
3.0 Top press release distribution services
4.0 How much does press release distribution cost ?
The cost of a single press release can be as low as couple of hundred dollars to as high as few thousand. The main things affecting the pricing of a press release is how many do you purchase (singles cost the most), links you can put, how widely will your press release be distributed, the total wordcount of the text itself with charges in slabs of 100 beyond standard 400 word release, how many images you insert etc. We will walk though some press releases examples and show you how to estimate its pricing in another blogpost.
5.0 Free press releases?
There are numerous services out there that claim that you can distribute your press releases for free. In our experience, a vast majority of these overpromise and underdeliver (or deliver nothing in some cases). We have reviewed over 50 such services and we have wrote another blogpost especially on this subject.
6.0 Is press release really suitable for your use case?
Due to the high one time costs involved in a press release distribution, I think its fair to think carefully whether are they the best tool for your given media pitch. The best way you can do so is by looking at previously published press releases and by checking on what kind of press they are getting. We have created a tool where you can enter you media pitch and using AI matching, it will search our vast database of press releases to get you the closest published examples. By reading that you can solidify your research to determine whether the best path forward to bring your pitch in front of journalists is by a press release or is your pitch niche enough that it will get better traction with a targeted media contact list. Our tool is currently undergoing beta trial; just drop a line to get access to it for free.