What is a Press Release? – 5W Public Relations Blog

Since a press release can offer any business many benefits and be a powerful tool for marketing, it is important for public relations professionals to know how to use them strategically. A condensed article that highlights something newsworthy or interesting about a company or organization is what makes up a press release. It is written in a journalistic style.

Although press releases are effective, they are short lived. They give you only a limited amount of time before their impact becomes old news. The trick is to submit them to the right places. If you do this, you just might get a phone call that requests an interview. That would be a tremendous outcome both for your business and website. A press release just might get your business out into the public at no cost to you.

Before Writing a Press Release

Ask yourself these questions…

  • What is it you want the press release to accomplish?
  • Are you aiming to create brand awareness of your website or products?
  • Are you aiming to add subscribers to a newsletter?
  • Are you promoting a new product or service that you have developed?

It is also important that you know the 5 W’s. You must know who, what, when, where and why. Once you know your purpose and the 5 W’s, you are ready to write.

What defines a Press Release?


Remember that in order to get anyone to read a press release you must first “grab their attention”. In short, the headline is the beacon to lead the way. It must be extremely capable of arousing interest. It should, of course, be bold type and the font should be larger than the body text. There should be a maximum number of characters of 80-125. Every word should be capitalized except “a”, “an”, “the”, or words that are three characters or less.

First Paragraph

Most journalists know that the basic format of a press release includes the five W’s. Who, when, what, where and why information must be the core of any news story. In a news story, these facts are included in a concise and clear way. Although many reporters may put the five W’s in the first few paragraphs to allow room for a lead that is catchy, it is best to include them all in the first paragraph and up front in your press release.

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