News Release Vs. Press Release

A few days ago, I mused publicly on Twitter that the term “press release” was outdated and that “Anyone (especially PR people) who uses the term “press release” needs to update their vocabulary.”

This isn’t a new topic – as people pointed out during the ensuing discussion  it’s been around for a while, yet I keep seeing the term “press release.”

What’s wrong with “press release?”

The term “press release” implies something that is no longer true:

Your materials are no longer only seen only by the press. Many releases are now posted online, either via newswire services or in company newsrooms, where they often rank highly in search results. That means customers, stakeholders and others are likely to see them.

Why is “news release” a better term?

The term has a broader focus, which accommodates the multiple audiences of your materials. It’s a good reminder that people outside the media will see your materials.

Equally importantly, the term “news release” reminds us and clients that we should only issue releases when you have news (although the occasional pithy pitch can work). Unfortunately, this is all too easily forgotten.

Who cares?

Why am I writing about this? Beyond those of us in the industry, who really cares?

I think the terms we use with clients are important. Saying “press release” reinforces the misconception that public relations is all about media coverage. The onus is on us in the industry to help others learn that we do much more than that.

It’s not about us – it’s about our audience. Sound familiar?

What do you think?