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How Press Releases Work


Positive Press Releases
Reporters rely on press releases for story ideas and company background information.
Reporters rely on press releases for story ideas and company background information.
Tom Shaw/ALLSPORT/Getty Images

The goal of writing and issuing a press release is to garner positive press about your company or client. All press releases are inherently biased [source: WebWire]. So all press releases, even if written in the middle of a PR crisis, are "positive" press releases, since they aim to put a positive spin on even the worst news.

Good press releases walk a fine line between excessive self-promotion and dry facts. Press release writers need to channel their inner journalist. No exclamation points in headlines, no overblown adjectives, easy on the marketing slogans [source: WebWire]. Even a blatantly positive press release still needs to read like a news story.

For example, positive press releases can announce the opening of a new movie, introduction of a new product such as the iPhone, availability of a new hospital service or program.

The U.S. Department of State issues press releases to remind journalists of diplomatic successes in the Iraqi area. Titled "Five Iraqi Orchestras Unite for U.S. Embassy-Sponsored National Unity Performing and Visual Arts Academy," this press release focuses not on the war but how music unites members of the country's warring ethnic groups. [source:  U.S. Department of State].

One way to ensure that your press release reads like a news story is to take a balanced approach to your topic [source: WebWire]. Don't just talk about your specific company, event, product or announcement, but put it all in perspective. Include facts about the industry in general, recent buying trends and expert third-party reports.

Successful PR depends on relationships. A journalist is much more likely to consider a positive press release if the PR professional has invested significant time to build a relationship of mutual trust. One way for the PR professional to establish such a relationship is to always make himself available to the journalist as an honest source of information about the company or client. If the PR representative has helped the journalist in the past by commenting on a controversial issue -- or getting his client to comment -- the journalist is more likely to do the client the "favor" of running a purely positive story based on a press release.

More and more journalists are searching online press release resources like PRWeb and PRWire to get content related to their beat [source: About.com]. To capitalize on this phenomenon, make sure your press release contains keywords that will land your release at the top of the search results [source: Business Know-how].

On the next page, we'll talk about defensive press releases.