Thursday, May 28, 2009

Press Releases

For several days I have been in a "discussion" with some of a client's employees, about press releases. I wrote a press release for the client in February, when it had important, hot news to announce. One of the employees wanted to send it out again now, a little reworded, but about the same "news". And not only to the media, but also to others - community organizations mainly. This prompted me to send the client the following:

"Coming from someone who has dealt with the media for decades, permit me to point out the difference between a press release and a bulletin (or "announcement", or "promo").

A press release is a news announcement; it is about something that is just now happening and it is sent to writers, assignment editors and all sort of good folk who sit around in newsrooms (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV) in an effort to get their attention, so that they will publish it and/or invite you in for an interview (the latter is preferred!).

Press releases should not be sent to bankers, retailers, customers, community organizations, your Board of Advisers, or your mother-in-law (you get the picture!); their sole target is the news media.

Everyone else gets a bulletin (or announcement, etc. - whatever it is called, as long as it's not called a "press release") -- the content can be the same, it should, however, be written specifically for its target(s), and it does not have to be about "new news". In other words, a press release that was written in February can be repackaged as a bulletin in May and sent to non-media targets."

If you ever receive a "press release" and you are not a member of the press, return it to its sender and point out the above difference! You would be doing a favor.

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