What is a press release? This is a question that many more brands need to ask, as press releases are often misunderstood and misused. Did you know that an online press release can work well as an indirect advertisement for your brand? We see major brands making headlines in the media all the time. Maybe it’s a signature beverage with a new flavor. Or maybe the latest story is about the release of a new phone model.

What if your brand could access the same sort of free publicity? Wouldn’t that be great for the business? Thankfully, this kind of positive publicity is well within your reach. And it’s not as complicated as you might think to earn media coverage. Furthermore, media coverage is not just reserved for the big companies or multinationals either.

Public relations is a powerful tool for all businesses when you master how to use it. It’s how you deploy your public relations strategies ad tactics that determines their effectiveness. Having said that, we’ve compiled the guide below to answer the pertinent question here – what is a press release?

What is a press release and what benefits does it offer?

What is a press release?

Oftentimes, we associate press releases with major announcements like a major budget film or celebrity statements. On the contrary, press releases can be used for a wide variety of announcements. For instance, corporations have been using press releases to create brand awareness and generate publicity for product launches for years.

A press release is not an endorsement, advertisement, or sales pitch. It’s a means to share a story about your company with the media in the hopes that they will publish it. The basic goal of an online press release is to unveil to the public the latest news about your business.

Press releases are very brief, factual announcements that get issued to a media distribution network on behalf of a business/company. If the media channels find the release contents newsworthy and intriguing, they will use your story to write an article of their own.

Elements of a press release

Once you have an answer to the question, “what is a press release?” it’s natural to wonder what the standard guidelines of writing one are. There are basic elements that any press release must contain. It’s these elements that determine whether your press release will make it to the news or not. If you leave out any of these elements, it doesn’t matter how great your content is – it will not be published. Here’s what your press release must contain:

  • Headline – needs to be catchy and engaging
  • Summary – briefly describes the message in the release
  • First paragraph or opening paragraph – must answer the five basic questions, which are “why”, “when”, “what”, “who”, and “where”
  • Second paragraph and main body
  • Boilerplate – covers standard information about your brand including contact details and addresses

Major benefits of a press release

How is a press release good for your business? Well, here are some reasons to use press releases more often:

  • Boosts your brand’s profile

Compare launching your business in the media to launching it on social media. Which platform is more influential? Well, there’s an authority that comes with having a press release published in the media. It portrays your brand as credible. This, in turn, encourages both current and prospective clients to take you seriously.

When your press release is published by the media, this is a form of social proof – a vote of confidence in your brand. Earning media coverage makes it much easier for your brand to earn public trust and win customers over.

  • Positions you as an industry authority

Beyond earning positive publicity, a press release portrays your brand as a trustworthy source. What’s more, it showcases you as an authority in your industry. It’s almost as effective as writing a white paper on a given topic. As with a white paper, if your press release goes viral, media outlets may start reaching out to you for expert opinions in that area. Imagine having journalists coming to you for a story instead of having to pitch your stories to them every time. This is exactly what happens when you write a quality press release that encourages journalists to think of you as a valuable source of information.

  • Offers a cost-effective solution

Writing and distributing press releases is generally cheaper than traditional advertising. What’s more, people are more likely to believe what you have to say in your press release. If you decide to outsource your press release writing, you’ll also find that there are many press release agencies to choose from. What is a press release agency? This is an agency that offers PR services that include press release writing and distribution. At Pressfarm, you can choose from three packages. When you take into account the potential to reach that their press release distribution offers, you’ll realize it’s a worthy investment.

Pressfarm’s PR professionals and expert writers can also help proofread and edit an existing press release for you, in addition to providing insight and advice into the PR industry. Moreover, by providing custom media lists and a database of 1 million+ journalists, Pressfarm can help you connect with the best journalists in your niche. By partnering with Pressfarm, you could launch a PR campaign that boosts your online visibility by helping your brand to feature in relevant search results.

  • Opens up great potential

Let’s be realistic – you can’t count on viral marketing all the time, because it’s never a guarantee. Oftentimes, succeeding with this approach comes down to sheer luck. On the other hand, a press release is more successful than most viral marketing tactics because it combines the element of virality with a calculated approach. If people like your content, they’ll share it continuously, thus creating hype.

  • Helps you reach potential audiences

One of the major benefits of leveraging the press release model is access to quality audiences. Furthermore, a good press release also reaches an unrivaled number of prospects. Keep in mind that getting featured among the small media outlets still grants you access to thousands of prospects. You don’t have to get your press release published in Forbes or Yahoo Finance for it to make waves. In fact, sometimes getting published in smaller, more niche outlets is a better way to reach a specialized audience.

Popular platforms like the BBC and New York Times have a wider reach. If your release appears on these channels, you’re reaching out to millions of readers. Just think about the costs you’ll incur to reach these audiences through PPC (pay-per-click). As a startup, you’ll often find that it’s more affordable and more effective to target smaller outlets.

Types of press releases

Most people who ask us “what is a press release?” also want to know what kind of press releases they can use for their brand announcements. There are over 10 types of press releases. Each press release type is designed for a different kind of business announcement. Let’s have a look at a few:

1. Event press release – they are specifically designed for announcing upcoming events such as fundraising, tradeshows, and conferences.

2. Product updates press release – if there’s a noteworthy update on your products, it’s important to make an announcement. You should list the benefits of this update and its impact on the quality of the product among other things.

3. Acquisition or merger press release – if you are merging with a new company, then that’s newsworthy. This is even bigger news if your business is merging with another renowned company.

4. Product launch press release – this is probably the most-used press release format. It’s designed specifically for announcing the latest products in your business.

5. Video press release – this is the latest release that’s gradually becoming popular. It combines the typical release with a TV or video package.

6. Rebranding press release – brand repositioning can create an opportunity for a newsworthy press release. After all, it’s an opportunity to share your brand story and brand values. You need your current and prospective consumers to remain updated about these major changes.

7. New partnership press release – if you are partnering with a well-known industry figure, consider crafting a press release to announce this.

8. Breaking news press release – as the name indicates, these are press releases that announce real-time breaking news that affects your business or your community.

What is a press release supposed to do well to be published?

If you’re writing a press release for the first time, it may seem challenging. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can leverage. They include:

1) Formatting

To create a press release, you need to learn about the standard format for a press release in your industry. After all, it’s the format that determines whether your press release will even be accepted by a media outlet or not. When writing the content, keep it factual. Omit sales phrases and opinions. Also, answer the most crucial questions – who, what, when, where, why, and how. Addressing these questions should give your release a proper structure and enough appealing content to impress the audience.

Furthermore, you’ll need to include a title, subtitle, and quote in your press release. Always keep the press release content highly insightful, engaging, and succinct. If you need professional help with cutting down excessive content, you should reach out to a copy editing specialist like those at Pressfarm.

2) Timing

The timing of your announcement plays a huge role in whether or not your press release will succeed. That being said, you should choose a topic that can make your release stand out. It also goes without saying that you should avoid sending a press release out when news outlets are in the process of covering a viral story. That is, unless your press release adds to the story they’re talking about or is viral in itself.

If you send your press release out in the middle of a media storm, this press release may get lost in the noise and never make it to the editorial team. When sending your release emails, consider doing this during morning hours. The best days of the week to do this are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

3) Distribution

To get your release to the target audience, you should use credible PR distribution networks. The channel you choose must have links with your target news outlets. Alternatively, you can hire a PR agency and avoid having to worry about this step. PR experts who have done this thousands of times before will boost the chance of your release reaching the target audience.

Optimise your press release distribution

The most effective way to reach audiences with your press release is by using respected PR distribution channels. The channel must have links to major news outlets, which is what you’ll get at Pressfarm. You also need to develop a press release distribution timeline. What is a press release distribution timeline? This is a calendar that indicates important lead times for each media outlet. While developing this timeline, keep in mind that each media outlet will have a different lead time. Hiring the PR specialists at Pressfarm increases your chances of capturing the attention of news channels at the right time and reaching your audiences.


What is a press release as an SEO tool?

If you want to boost your domain authority, a press release can help you achieve this with ease. When your business site links get published in various news channels with a high DA, your site gets a boost. The backlinks will improve your credibility score on Google and help boost your SEO efforts.

Should you hire an agency?

Thanks to the modern PR in the digital space, you don’t need to rely solely on PR agencies to distribute your press release. With the help of a distribution network, you can get your press release published on major news platforms. However, paying an agency will often give you access to press release writing, review, and distribution for an affordable fee and in one place.

Are you ready to start using online press releases for your business?

So, what is a press release? By now, you know the answer to this question, and you also know how to use a press release effectively. Good press is important if you want your company to thrive. However, don’t just sit back and wait for the media to reach you. Get proactive by using online press releases to promote your brand in the wider digital market.