Alternatives For Writing Your Next Standard Press Release

The press release has essentially remained the same since 1906 when Ivy Lee wrote and distributed the first release about a Pennsylvania Railroad train that was derailed near Gap, PA. The standard format includes a headline, opening sentence, body, conclusion, boilerplate and ### to signify you reached the end. The press release has become a common language between public relations professional and journalists, so many feel “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” and I agree.

However, while the press release is a useful vehicle to package and deliver news, there are a few less conventional ways to get the job done and still garner results for your clients. Here are a few to try:

Just send a pitch:

  • If your news is not something that needs to be distributed widely over the wire, consider drafting a pitch with the information you want to share and sending it to a targeted list of reporters. This way you can be more precise about who you are pitching and see what reporter may want the story, eliminating the need for a release (and the sometimes lengthy approval process).

Create an image or infographic:

  • A picture is worth a thousand words, right? If the news you are sharing can be conveyed in a visual way, consider creating an image or infographic to show the story you are trying to tell. As outlets rely more heavily on digital, reporters like receiving images and visuals. If you don’t have an internal design team, not to worry, there are plenty of free sites (like Canva), where you can design your own images.

Draft contributed content in the form of a bylined article or op-ed:

  • If the story is part of a larger industry trend, consider pitching it as an op-ed or a byline article. While it may take longer for your story to reach the press, chances are you will have many more words to get your point across and share your insights as a thoughtful piece.

Publish to your website or blog:

  • There are always instances where a story falls flat. In those cases, try packaging the news and posting it to your website or blog. You never know when a reporter will be poking around for content or sources for his or her next story.

It’s likely that we never move past press releases being the norm, but it’s nice to know you have other options, because the standard release isn’t always the right fit.

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