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The Rebirth of the Press Release Bookmark

The Rebirth of the Press Release

For many associations, they strive to be the go-to source for news and information for their respective industry. When members, the media, or politicians think about any given industry, the statewide association is, ideally, the first entity that comes to mind. 

If you think of some highly reputable and visible associations in Michigan, you’ll see they’re the first to be asked for comment on important issues of the day. But how did they garner such clout with the press? One of the biggest factors in attaining such authority is the seemingly old-fashioned, yet highly-effective communications asset of yore; the mighty press release. 

What is a Press Release?

A press release gets its value from its simplicity. It’s simply a communication that announces and comments on a piece of news, a development within an industry, a prominent hiring within an organization, the launch of a new product or service, or another important piece of news. These pieces are usually a page long, with an emphasis on clarity and brevity. 

It’s also important to point out what a press release should not be; a sales pitch. While many reporters covering a specific beat are usually thirsty for pieces to report on, a press release loosely disguised as a sales pitch will quickly be tossed in the trash. 

How Do I Write a Press Release?

A former Director of Publishing once taught me and my young colleagues how to write a press release. As marketing rookies (and millennials), we scoffed at him, thinking “no one writes press releases anymore.” But as social media platforms’ algorithms have evolved to make it increasingly difficult to carve out organic engagement and views, the press release, and its ability to get news coverage and views in online publications, has seen a rebirth in effectiveness.

Part of the appeal of press releases is that anyone can write them quickly and effectively. There are seven components to a respectable and professional press release:

  1. Title and Italicized Subheading to Summarize the News - Be sure to make this headline intriguing so that reporters and industry-related publications know, immediately, the release is relevant to them.

  2. News Location and News Peg in the Opening Line - Location is an important part of the press release. Reporters need to know it’s relevant to their coverage area before they pursue a piece of news further.

  3. Two to Three Paragraphs to Add Information - As noted above, brevity is key. The entirety of your piece of news needs to be condensed down to two paragraphs, with the options of including more in-depth statistical data later in the piece. 

  4. Bulleted Facts or Figures - Numbers speak a thousand words. Include metrics that grab a reader’s attention and clearly outline the importance of your topic. 

  5. Company Description at Bottom - You should include the option for readers to read more about your organization and its work to provide the reader with further context. 

  6. Contact Information and "For Immediate Release" at the Top - Don’t let this piece be the end of the conversation. Encourage reporters and others to reach out for further information, comment, or an interview. 

  7. A "###" at the End

    • You’ve seen these before. I had too. They’ve been included in press releases for over a century, but I had no idea why. I looked it up; they were included to let the reporter/reader know that it was the end of the press release so the reporter didn’t look for additional copy on the back of the paper. Many organizations still use them, mostly to appear as professional as possible.

Final Tips

Some organizations write a press release and then don’t do anything with it. Be proactive with your press releases, especially if you’re just getting into the practice of writing them. Find contacts to send them to at local news stations, other organizations in your industry, and publications concentrated on your industry. Over time, these entities will begin to come to you, not just in regards to your press releases, but for comment on all sorts of developments in relation to your industry. 

Press releases can help you become established as the thought leader within your industry and, with a little effort, provide your association with increased awareness and influence. 

If you’d like to see some examples of great press releases, check out this helpful post from Hubspot. For a more in-depth look at press releases, this blog from Class PR is extremely thorough. 

Now that you’re a press release-writing guru, share your press releases with MSAE! Send your press release to Wes Sovis, and if suitable, we’ll include your piece in our weekly Update email. 

Want more tips and insight? Be sure to follow MSAE on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Have an idea for a blog post or a topic you’d like covered? Let us know by sending us an email. 


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