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Press Release Basics | DeWinter Marketing & PR | Denver Colorado

Press Release Basics

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When it comes to affordable ways to get visibility, press releases & publicity emerge as a powerful strategy. But there are press release basics that must be followed for this strategy to be effective.

What Is A Press Release?

A press release is a formal public document released by a company, organization, non-profit, or individual to members of the media.

What Kind of News Qualifies To Be In A Press Release?

There are many different kinds of news that are fair game for a press release. Types of company news that qualify for a press release include:

  • Launch of a new company or division
  • Launch of a new product or service
  • Announcement of a new version of a product or service
  • An official statement or company position about a specific issue or occurrence
  • New staff members who’ve joined the organization
  • Information about industry trends
  • New customers who’ve signed up for the company’s product or service
  • News of special offers or promotions
  • Special event announcements such as attendance at a trade show or industry conference, an on-site event at the company headquarters & more


Distributing a press release over a digital news service can help spike visits to your website.

How Does A Press Release Help Your Business or Non-profit?

When you release a press release & make use of proper press release basics, it can help your business or non-profit in the following ways:

  • Generates awareness & interest in your company, product, or service
  • Helps manage public perception if the company is embroiled in some sort of scandal
  • Generates website and social media traffic
  • Reaches targeted prospects
  • Generates credibility for the company
  • Generates leads

What Kind of Content Belongs In Your Press Releases?

There’s a very specific format that press releases should follow when disseminating news out to the world. The press release should have the following elements in this specific order:

  • A centered headline that announces the news
  • Month Date Year (called the “dateline”)
  • City & state (typically this is the city & state of the company or non-profit’s headquarters)
  • Introductory lead paragraph that announces the specific news
  • Supporting information that explains the news
  • A quote from a member of the management team that positions & provides perspective on the announcement
  • An About-the-Organization paragraph that states the product or service offered by the company, credibility statistics such as years in business or size of the customer base, and the website address.
  • Media Contact information, i.e., who should the media contact if they have additional questions or need a photo

How Are Press Releases Distributed?

Press releases can be sent to a media list that’s been developed, or over a wire service.

  • Media Lists: Building a media list of targeted media outlets likely to cover your product or service is the first step. Build a list that includes the media outlet’s name, and a specific contact, phone number & email address.
  • Press Release “Wire” Services: Wire services are digital news distribution platforms that charge a fee to distribute your press release “over the wire,” or digitally to newsrooms all over the country or the world. Wire services typically charge a base price ($400 for example) for a specific number of words. If you exceed that base price word count in the press release, then additional charges kick in, usually for every 100 additional words over the base price. Examples of press release wire services include:
    • PR Newswire
    • Businesswire
    • Intrado’s Globe Newswire

How To Set Up An Press Release Program That Truly Helps Your Business

Here are the steps for setting up an press release program that follows press release basics:

  • Step 1: Develop a list of the types of news you want to release
  • Step 2: Develop a yearly calendar of when the news should be released
  • Step 3: Write & distribute press releases as you have legitimate news to announce over the course of the year.

Common Mistakes In Press Releases

Here are the top 3 mistakes organizations make when they are issuing press releases:

  • Write the press release like it’s a sales brochure– Press releases are written for the media and should feature the 5 “W’s.” That would be: Who, What, Where, Why & When. Press releases should be straightforward & factual.
  • Send out news that’s not news – If you want to develop meaningful relationships with editors & reporters, it’s wise to only send out legitimate news. “Fluff” news will make the editorial team roll their eyes and hit the “delete” key.
  • Don’t prepare for media interviews – If there’s a strong chance you’ll be interviewed by the press, you must prepare for the interviews by developing the key messages you want to convey & rehearse your spokesperson in advance. PR professionals can plan for likely questions & help your spokesperson be prepared for effective interviewing with the media.

When you follow common sense press release basics in PR programs, you can build relationships with members of the media who make decisions on whether you get media coverage. When you don’t follow these press release basics, you can burn bridges that will take a long time to repair.

Need help developing and/or maintaining an ongoing Press Release Program? Contact DeWinter Marketing & PR to help you deploy a cost-effective press release & PR program.

Courtney DeWinter is the president & founder of Denver-based DeWinter Marketing & PR in Denver, Colorado. She is a marketing & PR consultant with 25+ years of experience in branding, marketing, public relations, websites & journalism.

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