Published on November 1st, 2013 | by Md Mehedi


Characteristics of a Good Press Release


These days, every newspaper devotes some space to corporate news. The news items printed under this heading are prepared on the basis of the of the press releases or hand-outs supplied by various organizations. Press releases do not bring any monetary gains to either the organisation issuing them or the newspaper accepting them for publication. But if properly handled, they help to boost the image of the organisation in public.

It is usually the responsibility of the Public Relations Department of an organisation to issue a press release. These releases cover important events like appointments, seminars, conferences, visits of V.I.P’s to the office or factory, signing a contract, commissioning additional plant, launching a new product, getting an exceptionally large export order, entry into the capital market, etc.

A press release is different from a press report. A correspondent representing a newspaper or a news agency covering an event on his own writes a press report. A company sending matter for publication prepared by its own staff is an issuinga press release. Very often, correspondents prepare their reports on the basis of the releases issued to them. In fact, the release comes out to be quite handy both for the correspondent and the company.

The six important characteristics of a good press release are:

1. It should be newsworthy: Newsworthiness is the basic criterion of a good press release. For if does not have any news value, nobody would be interested in reading it and no newspaper would accept it for publication.2. It should be factually true: Factual truthfulness is a matter of integrity and integrity is an important principle of business communication. Companies should also realise that misrepresentation of facts with a view to misleading the public might bring immediate benefits, but such a step is bound to backfire sooner or later.3. It should be brief and precise: Newspaper is always hard pressed for space. Nor do their editors have sufficient leisure to prune and edit a lengthy release and prepare a suitable copy. If a release is brief and precise, its chances of getting included will be brighter. The press release for national newspapers should be shorter than those meant for local newspapers.

4. It should be drafted in a simple language and conversational style: If a news item is not easily readable, the reader is put off. He decides not to reads it, or, to turn to it at a later hour, which is as good as not reading it. So the press release must be prepared in a lucid style.5. It is suitable for publication: It is suitable for publication in the newspaper or journal to which it is being sent. Company releases, for example, should not be sent to literary, sports, or film journals.6. Who, What, When, Where, Why: Make sure that the relevant among the 5 w’s – Who, What, When, Where, Why – have been adequately taken care of

        Who?       Name the people involved. Names are usually newsworthy.

        What?     Say what happened that is newsworthy.

        When?    Mention the time. Since old news is no news, the timing of the press release is extremely

        Where?   Location is also important.

        Why?      It may not always be possible to answer why, but if these details are included, they impart
depth to the release.

Since press release is usually very short, the writer will have to use his discretion to determine what details to include.

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