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What is a News Release? Really!

What is a News Release? Really!

So much confusion over this simple question. Here’s my definition of a news release:

A written proposal:

– containing a request for media coverage

– and/or an offer to provide media the content needed to achieve that end.

A news release is either sent directly to media decision makers directly (e.g., by fax, email, street mail, etc.) or placed where they can find it and use it (as when it is posted to a news search engine using a news release distribution service).

A news release is not an advertisement. You do not pay for coverage and do not control what the media says. It is a document that persuades media to give you media coverage. Your degree of success is often based on how much of what you give them to do their job is actually used.

You must provide media with information that matches what they are accustomed to publishing (or producing). Usually this means the content must be news, education or entertainment, or opinion or commentary.

If you have a different objective, then perhaps you should not be thinking what you are writing or need to write is a news release at all.

It’s OK to have a different objective. There are other types of marcom (marketing communications) you can choose to achieve a goal. It also means your target audience is not likely to be media people. You will need a different targeted list of people to match your objective.

But if publicity in media is what you want, you write a news release.