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Understanding the Difference between a Press Release and an Article

You’ve probably heard the term “press release” before, but do you know what it means? It seems to be a common misconception that the term is just a fancy word for an article, but there are significant ome differences between the two.

An article is best described as written content that is either printed or displayed electronically. It can cover any topic but is most often timeless content that people will benefit from regardless of when they read it. A press release on the other hand, is typically time sensitive information regarding a current event, social concern, or announcement. A press release is what you will see when a new business opens or there has been a significant event such as an expansion.

Company Press Releases

When a company writes and publishes a press release, its entire purpose is to inform the public and draw attention to the business. This can be a great tool for marketing when it is completed correctly or it can be a hindrance to the company if it is poorly developed. In order for a company to create a press release that will truly be beneficial, there are a few things they must keep in mind.

Grab Their Attention With Your Title

It may seem like a small thing, but the title of a press release can make or break it. The title must be concise and to the point, while at the same time informing the reader about the article topic and catching their interest. A general rule is that the title should be less than twenty words in length and should be interesting—the reader should feel compelled to find out more information. Blogger Jeff Goins gives some great tips that we really like here about writing a catchy headline.

Write a Concise Summary and Introduction

Once you have come up with a catchy title, a concise summary and introduction should follow. In order to grab your audience, this section should be no more than a few sentences and should summarize all the important points in your press release. The remaining paragraphs should support this summary and introduction. Once the audience has read the summary and introduction, they should know exactly what the article is about and what the headline or title is for. Following the summary, a standard format press release will have the time and date of the release. If it is being published online, the publishing service will probably do this automatically.

Body and Authority

After the title, timestamp, summary and introduction are set; it is time to move on to the body of the press release. The body should include information and quotes given by someone with power concerning the topic of the release. If the company is new, the information should be from the owner. If it is a press release for a new invention, the information would ideally come from the person that came up with the idea, failing that it should be from the person that decided the product was worth making.

Conclusion

With all the main points out of the way and the audience now having a full understanding of what the company has to offer, it is time to bring the press release to a close. This is the point at which the reader should be able to find out how to get more information about the company, product, or service—or the call to action portion of the information.

Writing a Press Release about Yourself

Now that you understand the basics of a press release, you can apply the concept to yourself. Although press releases are typically geared towards companies, they can also be used for individuals such as public speakers, freelance workers, or other contract type services that people provide. For instance, if you are a public speaker and you are traveling to a city for the first time, putting out a press release about it is a great way to gain followers and build your audience while you are there.

In order to sell yourself (which is what a great press release is all about) through a press release as a means of marketing, you must find something captivating to draw in the audience. Toastmasters.org gives some great tips on finding your hook and getting your message to stick. They demonstrate how great hooks are compelling when they say,

“If you’re ever swimming in shark-infested waters, always swim with a partner. That way, if the shark attacks, you’ll at least have a 50/50 chance of surviving.”

Using hooks like this makes your audience feel like they will be missing out if they don’t read the content. You should be able to tell them what makes you stand out and what you are doing that is significant compared to other people in the field. If you are writing a press release to help sell yourself to an audience, the tips below may be helpful.

  • First and most importantly, make sure the readers know what you do.
    • Once they understand what you do, show them why you stand out among the competition In doing this, never put other people down or say you are “better than” someone else. People tend to respond much better to positive information that seems exciting and new rather than a negative atmosphere.
  • Write the press release in the third person.
    • It may seem strange to write about yourself this way, but it will come across much better to the reader and it is more difficult to leave out important information that you may assume the reader knows if you were to write it in first person.
  • Be honest.
    • Don’t try to make yourself in to something you are not. You should be able to present yourself in a way that makes you look good to the readers but you want to make sure you give them an accurate idea of who you are and what you have to offer. One of the quickest ways to hurt your reputation is to mislead your audience.

Want to know how to integrate your press releases into your blog? Take some advice from Lee Odden at Top Rank Marketing Blog. Remember, a press release is a valuable marketing tool and if properly written and distributed it can give you a powerful business edge whether you are an individual or writing on behalf of a company.

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Don’t know how to start? The team here at Harmonia Media is here to help you write powerful and effective press releases to get you attention and give you an edge.