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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?