Is there a difference between a press release and a news release? Both terms are frequently used and often interchangeably. In fact, there are several terms for different public relations communications – not just press releases. While there may be minor nuances believed to differentiate press releases and news releases, largely they are the same.

Regardless of what it’s called, a release is created and distributed to bring attention to an organization’s news, informing its target audience of important information. A press release or news release can be written about a wide range of topics and for a variety of industries. 

Often used as part of a public relations or marketing strategy, the purpose of a press release or news release is results. Traffic to a website or campaign landing page, increased foot traffic, media engagement with articles and interviews, engagement on social media, or increased sales – a release is a key component to deliver important news to the business media, industry publications and associations, and financial and consumer audiences.

What is a Press Release?

A press release is an official written communication or statement from an organization or company announcing or publicizing news, events, or other noteworthy information. Press releases are distributed to various media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, television stations, and online platforms with the goal of increasing visibility and awareness among their target audiences. 

An important tool for public relations and marketing professionals, press releases are often used as part of a campaign designed to generate interest in a product, service, project, or event, while building brand awareness.

Press releases are typically written in a specific format that includes a headline and subheadline, introduction, body text, boilerplate details, and contact information for the organization or individual issuing the release.

Unlike advertising or marketing materials, press releases are intended to be informative and unbiased, providing the facts of the news or event without any promotional language or hype. They are often used as a tool to build relationships with media outlets, as well as to establish credibility and authority in a particular industry or field.

Multimedia included with a press release should be focused on visually explaining the news being shared and the impact on the target audience. Avoid using promotional, overly branded imagery.

Why Issue a Press Release?

Companies and organizations issue press releases for several reasons, including:

What is a News Release?

Depending on who is asked, there are differences between a press release and a news release but those appear to be minor nuances. For example:

  • A press release announces something that will happen in the future while a news release covers something that is currently happening or happened in the past
  • A press release is associated with news channels while a news release is associated with online communication
  • A press release is prepared for the press while a news release is prepared for all audiences

Some simply believe that “news release” is an updated and more relevant term compared to “press release.” The term “media release” is also used. Ultimately, the format and intent of a press release, news release, or media release are very similar. 

What About Earnings Releases?

An earnings release, also known as an earnings report or quarterly earnings statement, is a financial document that is issued by a publicly traded company to report its financial performance for a given period of time, typically a quarter or a fiscal year. The purpose of an earnings release is to provide investors and other stakeholders with detailed information about the company's financial performance, including revenue, profits, and expenses.

Earnings releases typically include the following information:

  • Financial statements: Detailed financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, that provide a snapshot of the company's financial performance.
  • Key performance indicators: A summary of key performance indicators, such as revenue growth, earnings per share, and profit margins, that help to measure the company's financial health.
  • Management commentary: A statement from the company's management that provides context and analysis of the financial results and discusses any significant events or trends that may impact the company's future performance.
  • Forward-looking statements: A projection of the company's future performance, including revenue and earnings forecasts, as well as any risks or uncertainties that may impact the company's ability to meet its targets.

Earnings releases are an important tool for publicly traded companies to communicate their financial performance to investors and other stakeholders. They provide a transparent and detailed account of the company's financial health and help to build investor confidence and trust.

Media Advisories, Pitches, and Statements

Different than press releases, media advisories, media pitches, and media statements all have specific purposes.

A media advisory, also called a media alert, is a short document sent to media outlets to inform them of an upcoming event, such as a press conference, product launch, or event, and generate interest and attendance from the media. Media advisories typically include event details, a brief description, and contact information. Unlike a press release, it does not provide extensive information and is designed to be attention-grabbing.

A media pitch is a concise message sent to journalists or influencers to generate interest in a story, product, or service. Media pitches are tailored and highly relevant to the targeted media outlet's audience and include a strong hook, supporting details, and a clear call to action. A successful pitch requires a deep understanding of the targeted media outlet and its audience, plus a well-crafted message that speaks to their interests and needs.

92% of journalists prefer to be pitched via 1:1 email per Muck Rack’s State of Journalism 2023 survey

A media statement, or press statement, is a concise message issued in response to a specific news story, event, or issue. Carefully crafted to convey the organization or individual’s perspective clearly and effectively, a media statement communicates their stance to the media and the public. A media statement can take many forms, such as a written document, video statement, or audio recording.

Forget the Terminology – Focus on the Details

Instead of focusing on what to call a release – press release vs. news release vs. media release – focus on the structure and content instead. A well-crafted headline, eye-catching multimedia, thoughtful quotes, strategically embedded hyperlinks, and proper formatting techniques all work to catch the eye of journalists and retain reader attention. Taking the time to polish a release will help gain traction with the media and audiences.

Plus, regardless of what it’s called, a news release is just one part of the PR story. Any robust communications strategy includes several avenues to deliver news: paid media, owned media, earned media, and shared media. 

Press release vs. news release vs. media release, Business Wire understands the importance of generating value when a company or organization has news to share. With deep experience, guidance, and support, plus superior media targeting, Business Wire provides tangible news distribution results. 

Learn more

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