“Aren’t we overdoing it on the form, even the formatting, of press releases?”
Short answer: no.
No, we are not overdoing it.
Putting it into context.
The press release is THE cornerstone press document. The cornerstone of press relations.
The press release first appeared in October 1906 [*]. It was written by Ivy Lee, considered the creator of press relations. Ivy Lee wrote this document to cut through the rumors that were spreading after a train accident that killed more than 50 people. He convinced the railroad company to be transparent and to write a document (the 1st PR) that explains the event and takes full responsibility for it. The document was distributed to the media, and was immediately welcomed by the journalists. PR was born, giving birth to by the press release itself.
As we have already presented , the objective of the press release is to present honest and descriptive information to your target journalist.
Its main characteristics are :
- to present a piece of information
- to facilitate quick reading
It is on this last characteristic that we will focus. Facilitating quick reading implies giving a quick and exhaustive understanding of the information. Ergo, the formalism of the press release.
How to present a press release?
1 – Structure
- Title, subtitle and intertitles will allow the reader to quickly understand the structure of the document.
2 – Practical additions
- URLs will allow access to more elements (multimedia content, for example)
3 – Pertinent Quotes & Speakers
- Quotations, in italics and presented in quotation marks, are attributed to clearly identified spokespersons (first name, last name, position, company); this will allow the journalist – if he wishes – to illustrate his article with comments pre-validated by the company. So, no pre-publication validation is necessary.
4 – Make the important information as visible as possible!
- The boilerplate (the famous paragraph that starts with ‘About my Company’). This paragraph of 4/5 lines summarizes the activity of the company and its essential characteristics. It is also an excellent way for the journalist to make sure of the activity of the company they are about to relay the news about 🙂
Well, that was the long version. But the answer to the question remains, no, we really don’t do too much altering to the form of press releases 😉
Presentation is not everything but it is essential!
“Managing press relations isn’t easy, here are our tips for choosing the best PR agency for your business.”
[* source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_release]