What is a Press Release

Press releases are official statements issued by companies and organizations to print, television and radio media. These press releases may be purely factual and address a specific issue or concern, or they may be more promotional in nature. Some press releases are generated in-house by authorized employees, while others are produced by outside public relations firms contracted by the company or organization.

The press often relies on these press releases to form the factual basis for subsequent articles. During a newsworthy event, access to the actual individuals involved may be extremely limited. If the issue at hand is controversial or potentially damaging to a company's reputation, a general news blackout may exist. Press releases allow companies to control the amount and substance of essential information the various media outlets may use.

Press releases generally fall in the 300-600 word range, and rarely exceed one print page if being distributed through fax or mail. The growing popularity of online press release distribution allows for greater flexibility in press release length, as well as the addenda that can be attached to press releases for distribution such as photos, company logos, or other supporting documents.

While sometimes confused with more general articles, press releases should be written in a more journalistic style called the reverse pyramid, where the most newsworthy information is presented first. Press releases are kicked off with a headline, which is a catchy title designed to explain the general news angle while grabbing journalists‘ attention. Press releases are dated, and also contain the hometown of the issuing person, company, or organization.

Press releases are official statements issued by companies and organizations to print, television and radio media. These press releases may be purely factual and address a specific issue or concern, or they may be more promotional in nature. Some press releases are generated in-house by authorized employees, while others are produced by outside public relations firms contracted by the company or organization.

Individuals in extraordinary circumstances may also use press releases to control information. A recent mother of sextuplets or a released kidnapping victim may be too overwhelmed to address the media directly, for example, so an attorney or other family spokesman may issue a press release on their behalf. Essential questions may be answered in these press releases, along with relevant quotes from the individuals involved. This form of press release may be followed up with a controlled press conference in which reporters may ask questions directly.

Definition of Press Release: A written announcement that seeks to draw media attention to a specific event or product launch. A hand-out giving information about a public event