What Are Press Releases?

23 Mar 2021


Press releases are brief text pieces that communicate a specific message. Organizations, such as governments and companies, as well as public individuals use press releases to communicate noteworthy information to the general public. And often, press releases contain information related to a specific topic or event.

Nowadays, press releases have both digital and print formats. They generally make their way to the public on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. However, organizations may still choose a more traditional approach by publishing their press releases through print formats like newspapers or magazines.

Elements of Press Releases

Press releases have the following elements:

  • Answers to questions (who, what, where, when, and why)
  • General background information with details as needed
  • Predominantly text-based content, sometimes with graphics
  • Video (common in recent years)
  • Identification of the organization or individual releasing the information
  • Status as official sources of information
  • Disclaimers, if needed

Purposes of Press Releases

Press releases can serve any of the following purposes:

  • Inform the general public of a specific topic or situation
  • Provide official information
  • Address a target audience with relevant information
  • Communicate product launches, awards, breaking news, or generate online traffic
  • Serve as part of crisis management in case of emergency

Format of Press Releases

Press releases contain the following parts:

  • Headline or title (purpose, stated in an engaging way)
  • Body (two to five paragraphs with relevant supporting details)
  • Boilerplate (short paragraph with information about the organization or individual)
  • Press contact (information for the media)
  • General contact information

On the whole, press releases are valuable tools when newsworthy issues arise. As such, they should be used wisely. Overdoing press releases lessens their impact and reduces the credibility of the organization or individual.

Zach Richter 

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