Writing is writing, right? You sit down, bang your head on the desk for a while, and eventually you come away with something that resembles properly formed sentences. While there is some truth to this (especially the head banging part), it would be unwise to pretend that the process of writing a press release and a blog is the same.
Honestly, treating them as such could land you in some hot water. At the very least, it could mean that nobody wants to read your stuff, which is the opposite of what you want. There are a few key ways you should treat these two types of writing differently.
Let’s start by looking at what press releases and blog posts are and the objectives of each:
A press release is a short, formulaic document designed to communicate key information about your company, products, or a newsworthy situation. The goal of a press release is to have it either be printed word-for-word, or better yet, to have a reporter become interested in the topic and contact you to create their own, more extensive story about your company, product, or event.
The audience for a press release is primarily a news professional to give them the information they need to cover your story, secondarily, your customers for those situations where it is printed word-for-word.
A blog post in today’s world is an article designed to communicate information to your target audience. It’s objectives are to inform, convince, and position your company in the marketplace. Blog posts have no formulaic structure – you write them in whatever style is needed to convey the message you want your target audience to understand.
The audience for a blog post is your target audience. Occasionally, media professionals may use them to gather information for a story, but they are not the target audience for a blog post.
Strict Format Versus Free-Flowing
One of the biggest differences between writing a press release and writing a blog is the form. Aside from a few changes, press releases should follow a fairly strict format. In short, get all the important details in quickly, and don’t dawdle.
A blog post is more free-flowing. While the vast majority of the blog posts on the web have a similar form, there’s nothing really stopping you from trying some brand new. Many blog posts, for example, start out with an anecdote. If you want, you could pump out a ton of content in one paragraph and go off on a tangent in another. Then you could include an infographic just because it helps make your point.
Press releases are all about information. You’re trying to tell as many people as you can about your big announcement – “hey, we have a new store location!” or “hey, our janitor is now our CEO!” Whatever you write has to be informative to the public at large. Generally, this means they have a more authoritative tone.
On the other hand, blog posts can vary wildly in tone. They can be funny, serious, weird, or even angry. It’s all about what you’re trying to convey to your readers. It’s less about the information and more about the “experience,” although this can actually include an “informative” experience.
What’s the ultimate goal of each one of these? While it’s pretty well-established that a press release’s main goal is to inform, there’s a little bit more than that to it. Mainly, press releases are written to reach a certain audience. First and foremost, that audience is the editor or journalist at the paper or magazine or website that you want to be printed in.
While you likely have an audience in mind for your blog post, you also have the opportunity for it to spread all over the world. The “aim” is for anyone who’s remotely interested in the post to take notice. So while a local barber’s press release of “Come See Our New Location!” has a limited audience and aim, their blog post “Top 5 Reasons to Use a Comb in Winter” could potentially reach the far corners of the Earth.
This raises a key question. Since there are significant differences between press releases and blog posts:
First off, you definitely should publish your press releases on your website, but probably not on your blog. Since the goals, audience and tone for press releases are different than blog posts, press releases stick out in a stream of blog posts like a sore thumb and confuse the reader.
The ideal location is to create a virtual press room on your website and publish your press releases there. The goal of this section of your site is to provide news professionals with the information they need to write stories about your company and products.
A virtual press room may include things like:
As you can see there are some pretty significant differences between press releases and blogs. Approaching them like they’re the same could be a big problem and end up with a confused message. Try to keep the two mentalities separate and you shouldn’t have an issue going forward.
Do you have different processes when approaching a blog post and a press release?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (https://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: https://www.ereleases.com/free-offer/beginners-guide-writing-powerful-press-releases/