If you are interested in raising the profile of your business and reaching new audiences both press releases and feature articles are fantastic ways to get your messages out there. But which one should you choose? There are some key differences between the two which make them more suitable for distinct types of promotion, product or service.
Luckily, this article will help give you some useful tips about how to use these tools of the public relations trade and a steer regarding which suits your business right now.
See also: How to write a press release
What is a press release and when should it be used?
Press releases are used to inform journalists of your company’s external news, and should be written in a succinct and objective style, just like a news report. The information contained in a press release must be newsworthy or timely, for example announcing the release of a new product, the launch of a new business or service, or sharing the details of an event.
Press releases need to catch the journalist’s attention quickly, and the opening sentence should be a punchy summary of what the story is. A good way to write the opener of a press release is to imagine a news reader introducing the story – what would they say?
Some businesses may misuse a press release to try to boost sales of an existing product that has failed to sell as well as hoped, or create a buzz around something that simply isn’t new or newsworthy. Developing and maintaining good working relationships with journalists is a critical part of public relations, and this will quickly sour if they are repeatedly sent poor information.
Some of the highest profile consumer journalists may receive anywhere between 300 and 500 pitches from PRs every day, and boring pitches or ‘old news’ will rapidly get the sender put on the ‘ignore’ list. Check out the hashtag ‘direPR’ on Twitter for some journalists sharing their bugbears…
What about a feature article, and how is it used by businesses?
A feature article is used to cover a subject in far more depth than a press release, and will often be more subjective. Feature articles are a useful way to impart the knowledge and views of a business or taking on key issues in their industry, for example a dairy farmer who has diversified into ice cream production might write a feature article about the increasingly consumer spotlight on animal welfare.
Even though a feature article is more opinion-based than a press release, the writing should still be backed up with facts and figures wherever possible. Feature articles are a useful tool for businesses who want to position themselves as thought leaders or the ‘go-to expert’ in their field, as a well-written and placed feature article will be widely read and may be shared online if people agree with the content.
See also: Editorial vs advertorial
Journalists spend their entire lives working with words, so you will need to make sure that your spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate before sending out a press release or feature article. If you are unsure about writing then why not consider employing the services of a copywriter or public relations professional to help guide you in this field.
Tara is our traditional marketing and PR partner so keep checking back for more.