Imagine a growing business and you decide to expand from its current single location to a total of three locations scattered across your city. The expansion warrants a major announcement to let customers know what’s coming. At the same time, the announcement could serve to attract new clients that are destined to benefit from the additional locations. One way to make that announcement is through a press release.
Press release writing and distribution has been an effective business tool since the very first press release was created by public-relations expert Ivy Lee in 1906. In the more than 100 years since, the press release has evolved to accommodate different distribution channels along the way. From newspapers to radio and television to internet, the press release has come a long way.
It Starts with an Idea
Every press release starts with a particular idea a company or organisation wants to communicate. More often than not, these ideas centre around some sort of major announcement. A company might be launching a new product line or shutting down an old one. A new executive might be joining the team, and the company wants the entire industry to know. Although press release ideas cover a wide variety of things, the one thing they all have in common is that they are ideas that cannot be expressed through marketing or sales channels.
Writers Go to Work
With idea in hand, press release writers can get to work. It is the job of writers to express the idea in question in a way that is clear, concise, and that speaks directly to the target audience. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
Have you ever listened to a typical ‘man on the street’ interview and found yourself wondering what on earth the person being interviewed was talking about? Press releases are subject to the same kind of thing. An unskilled writer may believe he or she is clearly communicating the idea in question when, in fact, this is not the case.
In any case, the writer’s work is submitted for review and final approval. If it needs edits, the press release goes back to the writer. Otherwise, it’s on to distribution.
Seeking Distribution Channels
This final stage is where press release writing and distribution really gets exciting. There are a tremendous number of distribution channels that companies and organisations can use today, channels that were not available prior to the introduction of the internet.
Yes, press releases are still submitted to television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and even trade periodicals. But we can now also distribute them through online press release services. The advantage of online distribution is that it allows for better targeting. There’s another benefit as well: a well-structured press release distributed online can improve a company’s search engine performance.
The one thing to consider with distribution channels is cost. Most of the old-school channels still accept press releases for free because they value the content. Some online channels do the same. But there are others that only accept press releases from paid members. This is something that companies should think about when choosing distribution.
And now you know how press release writing and distribution basically works.