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What's the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release?


About 10 years ago when I was doing marketing for Nextel in Minnesota we worked with a local PR agency who pitched our stuff to the local media. They helped write press releases then sent them to reporters and tech writers in the area with the hopes of getting them published, or perhaps an interview that could lead to a featured article.

press releaseWe were totally at the mercy of the media as to whether our press releases got noticed and acted upon. My take on it is if our releases seemed to mesh with their hot buttons and what they wanted to talk about we had success. But if not we were sent packing. We had little control over the outcome. The media held the keys to unlock the doors to get us in front of our audience.

Fast forward to today. Writing press releases with your PR agency and pitching them to the media is pretty much a thing of the past. Today you have direct access to your audience via the Internet. You also have the opportunity to engage with your audience and interact directly with them via interactive websites, blogs and social media. Today, you are the media. You are a publisher of information. No middle man required.

Four days ago I published a news release via PRWeb (a press release distribution service) and simultaneously published it on my Newsroom - a page on my own website.

PRWeb delivered my release to over 5,000 online media properties. In fourNews Release days it's had over 30,000 impressions. The result of which has brought numerous and valuable backlinks to my website, social interactions and leads.

The news article published to my newsroom page was promoted via Twitter. It was tweeted and re-tweeted by over 80 people the first day - whose accumulated reach gave further exposure to tens of thousands of eyeballs.

All this without any dependence upon an editor at a media outlet to pick up and publish my news. The cost? A couple hundred bucks and about 4-5 hours of my time.

And the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release is?

The difference it seems to me between a press release and a news release is a matter of perception and what you do to publish and promote your news. To me, the term, "news release" has me thinking of modern marketing methods of using the Internet, while "press release" is definitely an older term used to refer to the practice of sending or releasing news to the press.

Google the terms "press release" and "news release" and you find the former has over 71 million hits and the latter term has just 12 million. Arguably, the term, press release has greater awareness, it's been around longer. And there are some who say there is no difference between the terms.

Yet, the real difference again, is what you do with it, not what you call it. Use the terms interchangeably. Whichever term you choose to use, take control of it. Know that you are a publisher. You are now your own media outlet. With today's Web you have direct access to the technologies needed and access to a very large, hungry-for-information audience. You can create, publish and promote your own news. No reporter, editor or journalist required.

Learn more about publishing optimized news releases that gets results. Download our free Newsroom Marketing Kit.

What term do you prefer and why?



Very good stuff....
Posted @ Thursday, July 28, 2011 1:06 PM by Hemanth
Definitely agree with your point. Moreover, News Releases are becoming direct to end user Media Releases (Incorporating images, audio, links & video for distribution via social networks, traditional, mobile, blogs and other various online). Whereas, a Press Release is one dimensional and intended only for reporters (Press = Media gatekeepers), more commonly found at traditional outlets. Your definition is correct, timely and accurate.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012 5:51 PM by Wilson
I prefer news release because it refers to "news," not press. I look at a press release as information I want to get to the media, like news conference information etc. A news release is news I want to send to an audience.
Posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 2:01 PM by Ken Gordon, APR
When I first began pitching media (at that time, we called all media "press") in 1990, I sent out the appropriate "press releases" and all was good. A few years later, I was told by a number of respected print media that my term "press release" was dated and showed my old-hat thinking. 
In my 20-plus years of using "news release" instead of the dated "press release," I've encountered clients, PR agency experts and even media who still use "press" instead of "news" or "media." While my preference is to use "news," I have not seen a difference in application. The success of the tactic has little to with its name; rather, it must be newsworthy, written in a news-media's format/style and must be current. We pitch "news" (both hard and soft); the tools used, as well as the strategies implemented, are the critical success factors that make the release and its other communications tools work.
Posted @ Saturday, March 23, 2013 6:14 AM by Ange Frymire Fleming, Fellow (FCPRS), APR, MBA
Wrong, wrong, wrong! 
I've been in this game for 25 years and this is a source of great frustration.  
A "News Release" has an important element that a press release does NOT--namely TIMELINESS. It should be a "stop the presses" type of communication. Think position statements, special offers, something that has a limited shef life.  
A press release need not be time sensitive. Consumer products people send out pitches, news releases all the time without consideration. This hurts the industry since in newsrooms it represents spam, making it bad for the industry and those of us disseminating real news.  
Today's PR practitioners, especially those under 30 need to understand the distinction and learn how to write strong pitches as opposed to "News Releases."  
This continues to be source of great frustration.  
Our industry is being hurt from a  
Posted @ Saturday, March 23, 2013 11:57 AM by Keith
Thanks for the article. I have to disagree with the message about having no need to interact with media. In the end yes, you can create and post your own news, but it is a matter of credibility. Formal media still has high credibility in the public's eye. If you just post your own content, you'll have to face as low credibility as the advertising industry has: It would be you speaking about yourself, not a third party doing it. It's basic comms.
Posted @ Monday, April 01, 2013 8:47 AM by Marco Calvo
hi.l think news release has to do with information that are delivered directly to the editors without time constraint while press release goes out to the audience but not the general public directing it message to a certain group for quick response.
Posted @ Friday, October 18, 2013 8:33 AM by frankline
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