While some elements of communication, like print newspapers, are dying, the news release is still living on. It plays an integral role in the PR field, and successful media relations, PR strategies and media kits. The news release is an important tool that PR students should master before entering the field, especially since future employers will expect them to have it down pat.
So, what exactly is a news release?
Also known as a press release, a news release, according to THINK Public Relations, “is the most commonly used public relations tactic. The primary purpose of this simple document is the dissemination of information from public relations sources to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines.”
According to Bill Stoller of Publicity Insider, “a press release is [a] pseudo-news story, written in third person, that seeks to demonstrate to an editor or reporter the newsworthiness of a particular person, event, service or product.”
THINK Public Relations lists the following as standard components of a news release:
- Contact info of the sender
- Boldface headline
- Lead paragraph
- 12-point Times New Roman font
- Paragraphs that are not split between pages
- Slug & page numbers
- Use of AP Style
- Correct facts, grammar & spelling
- Summary of company at the end of the release
- Localized angle & details
Here are a few articles from one of my favorite PR information sources, PR Daily, on what to do and what not to do when writing a news release:
- 7 simple yet common press release mistakes
- 5 things to check before sending that press release
- How to write a killer press release in 15 minutes
- 10 signs of a horrendous press release
- 5 examples of offbeat press releases
- 6 horrible press release headline mistakes
For those of you who have had experience writing a news release, what advice would you give to PR newbies on how to be successful?