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Why PR pros should use news releases to reach media in 2024

By Lindsey Chastain

News releases focusing strictly on news value are more effective than press releases in today's media landscape.


A man writing a news release.In the world of public relations, there are two main types of releases organizations use to garner media attention: the press release and the news release. Though they may seem similar, news releases are more valued in today’s media landscape due to their higher news value and more journalistic style.


So what’s the difference?


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Press Release vs. News Release

A press release is a document distributed by an organization to announce or highlight a newsworthy event, achievement, product launch, etc., traditionally with promotional writing to tout a company’s accomplishments and credentials. A news release differs in voice and objectivity, traditionally written journalistically with the news itself at the center of attention.


For example, a press release may begin by naming the organization, its impressive history, recent awards won, and notable executives or thought leaders associated with it. The language tends to be overtly promotional with words such as  "prestigious," "highly acclaimed," and "award-winning" to lead to the actual news, typically a few paragraphs into the release.


In a news release, you jump right into the key announcement or news event without any self-promotional buildup about the organization. The news value stands entirely on its own without the use of inflated language about the organization.


Why does the news release trump the press release?

In the past, organizations may have been able to capture media attention with flashy, self-promotional press releases. But times have changed.


Today's media outlets are inundated with press release after press release from organizations trying to grab attention. Following the old press release format is no longer an effective strategy.


Here are some key reasons why news releases work better than press releases in today's media environment:

  • They speak the media's language. Top media outlets will toss out press releases full of promotional fluff. News releases follow the journalistic style that media writers and editors respond to.
  • The news hooks stand out. Leading with the announcement or news story cuts through promotional clutter to capture journalists’ interest efficiently.
  • Facts take center stage. Media outlets want facts, details, evidence, examples, and insights to create compelling stories for their audiences. Flowery promotional language doesn’t cut it.  
  • The focus stays on the news value. Today's media consumers have high BS detectors. They want news they can use, not inflated hype.
  • They align with online reading habits. Internet readers skim and scan content, zeroing in on what piques their interest. Burying the news under promotional buildup is a non-starter.

Press releases may have worked well in the past as organizations vied for media attention. But in today's crowded media environment, news releases that get right to the actionable news offer a much better return on investment. Following modern news release writing and formatting helps ensure your stories will get picked up and connect with target audiences rather than getting ignored in the slush pile.

Not sure where to start to get your news noticed? Read Axia Public Relations’ e-book "Learn Media Relations from the Media” for more insider tips on best practices for pitching the media and earning media coverage.


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Photo by Cytonn Photography

Topics: media relations, news release, earned media, news media

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