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What are Press Releases?When beginning a discussion of press releases, a good starting point would be to talk about what they are. Press releases haven't changed that much since my involvement in public relations almost 20 years ago, but the way they're distributed (released) has changed a lot. Since the Internet didn't exist 20 years ago (at least not in its present form) people were sending out press releases to the media in the old fashioned way: the U.S. postal service. Wait a minute, though! I take that back. Fax machines existed in the eighties and nineties, so that was actually the preferred method of getting news announcements to the media in the shortest period of time--although hand-delivering them was not unheard of, either!
Let's return, for a minute, to the question of "What are press releases?" Based on my personal experience, I'd define press releases as a news announcement formatted in a specific way, which is intended to generate media publicity or awareness of a business, organization, individual, government entity, or priority issue. In the Internet Age, press releases are typically released via email to media outlets—either through a press release distribution service or using one's own email distribution list. Twitter and other social media channels can also be used to alert the media and other followers about a press release that's been posted or otherwise release. And speaking of posting, there are specific websites that will post your press release online, either at no charge or for a fee. As with most things, you get what you pay for&mdashso you'll generally get more 'mileage' from a fee-based press release service than from the free version.
The ideal outcome of releasing a press release and getting it posted on press release distribution sites is that media reporters, editors, bloggers, and/or webmasters stumble across your press release and decide to publish or base an news article, features story, blog post on the subject of your press release. Sometimes, they'll contact you for additional comments or information about the topic of the news release.
How to Release a Press ReleaseThe topics of "how to release a press release" and "what are press releases" could easily comprise an entire book on press releases, if not an entire college course. I will expand this article in the future— and welcome your feedback and suggestions for improving it —but in the mean time, I wanted to include some helpful resources that I stumbled across on the Web that will help you in your pursuit of effective strategies concerning press releases, public relations, media relations, and how to release a press release—preferably one that generates publicity, brand recognition, valuable incoming links to your website, and increased visibility on the Web.
Lists, Directories, Resources & Services:
Format for Press Release (press release examples) There are several acceptable formats for press releases, but it's important to use one of them to look professional and organized in the eyes of the media. If you're looking for examples of press releases, then government agencies or national organizations, such as the American Red Cross, are authoritative sources for finding good press release samples.
*Note: Optimal Marketing/Marketing Survival Kit
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