News Release vs. Press Release: What are the Differences?

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Press Releases vs. News Releases

News release vs. press release: what is the variation between the two? Contrary to what many may believe, these terms aren’t actually interchangeable. As a business, knowing the difference between the two is key to your public relations marketing strategy.

news release vs. press release

At eReleases, our goal is to help businesses of all sizes thrive in their respective industries. Here, we use our knowledge of PR to inform you of the difference between news and press releases. Also, we explain how each type of release can help promote your business.

Keep reading and grow your business’s brand reputation today!

News Release vs. Press Release: How are they Different?

There’s one essential difference between a news release and a press release: time. A news release covers something that is currently happening or has already happened, a press release covers something that has yet to happen.

Also, “news release” is a newer term in comparison to “press release” when it comes to how long the term has been in use. Although not exclusive to either outlet, news releases are more associated with online communication, whereas press releases are more associated with news channels.

If you still are unclear about the difference, then “media release” is a useful, catch-all term to describe such PR marketing strategies.

Another Difference Between News Releases and Press Releases: Their Intended Recipient/Audience

You should be aware that some people consider a second difference between these terms – based on the intended recipient of each.

People who use this differentiation say that a press release is used when the communication is intended specifically for journalists and members of the press—those who work in newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television networks, etc.

And news release is sometimes used when the communication is intended for a broader audience, beyond just the press. With the advent of the internet and digital communication technologies, releases can now be aimed directly at the public—via social media, blogs, websites, email newsletters, etc. These are often referred to as news releases.

Unfortunately, the difference between these two terms is mushy, with different people, even experts in the media, using them in different ways.

Let’s look at both of these terms to understand them in more detail:

What is a News Release?

A news release covers any newsworthy topic that happened in the recent past or is currently happening.

A news release guide follows this basic format; it answers:

  • What happened
  • When did the incident take place
  • Who took part in the incident
  • Where did the incident take place
  • Why did the incident happen

The Purpose of a News Release

The overriding purpose of a news release is to inform an audience of events happening around them from an unbiased perspective.

A news release could cover a wide range of topics, such as politics, crime reporting, or wholesome stories about good Samaritans.

To have your news release reach the right people, you must write for your target audience. Research factors such as their age, geographical location, and interests. You can then make use of what you learn to better tailor your news release to your readers.

Although these bits of information may seem inconsequential, they could mean the difference between gaining and losing readers. For example, millennials tend to gravitate towards certain formats to receive current news in comparison to baby boomers, particularly when it comes to political-related news.

You may want to make a news release for your small business if your business was recently involved with a local event, such as a charity run. Or, if your business recently changed hours of operation, then you may want to make a news release.

What is a Press Release?

A press release typically takes the form of a short statement in writing. The goal of a press release is to answer the “who, “what,” “when,” “why,” and “how” of a certain project, like a sales pitch.

The Purpose of a Press Release

You present your press release to journalists to convince them it is worthy of publication in media outlets. Other than convincing journalists that your press release is worthy of publication, the goal of a press release is to bring the attention of your target audience to your project.

If written well, a press release can be an effective component of your business’s marketing strategy. But, if done poorly, it’ll never make it past a journalist’s desk and be forgotten.

As a small business, you may want to make a press release, for example, to promote a new service or product, or to advertise an upcoming sales event.

In short:

News Release vs. Press Release

A news release and a press release, while similar in purpose, differ in focus and content. Press releases are marketing tools primarily used to announce and promote events, products, or services. In contrast, news releases cover things that have already happened or a broader range of topics that are relevant, timely, and newsworthy to a target audience, including politics, human interest stories, crime, or even scandals. By understanding these distinctions, readers can better appreciate the intent and context behind each type of release.

Which Term Should You Use, News Release or Press Release?

Frankly, the differentiation between these two terms is mushy enough that in most cases, you can get away with calling them by a single term.

Which one should you choose?

Let’s look at a major indicator of actual usage: search engine search volume.

One leading service,, shows that the term press release is searched for 19,000 times a month via the search engines. In contrast, news release is searched for just 900 times. And the term media release is searched for 800 times a month.

That tells us that press release is the clear winner in usage terms.

And since the definitional differences between the two terms are so mushy, it feels safe to make life simpler by just calling them press releases.

Press Release Distribution – The Key to Successful Press Releases

Now that we’ve dealt with what you should call them, let me give you a hypothetical example that we see daily as the leading press release distributor for small businesses.

It involves two managers, each of whom wants to send out a press release.

Ashley wants to save a little money, so she sends her press release to the 58 people they have identified as journalists potentially interested in their story. Of those 58 emails 40 of them go to to the editor for that media source and are totally ignored. 15 of them go directlly to the spam email box for the address in question. Three, yes, just three of them actually get looked at by a reporter.

Megan realizes that eReleases distributes press releases for a living and has developed relationships with 1.7 million journalists. Plus, she knows that her press release will go out on Cision PR Newswire, the leading press release newswire in the United States. She’s willing to pay a small amount to get her press release into the hands of journalists, editors, bloggers and influencers who actually want to receive press releases like hers.

Who do you think actually got quantifiable, profitable results from her press release?

We see this happen every day. People making small choices that radically affect the results they receive from their press releases.

We’d like to help you with yours. Learn more about eReleases’s press release distribution services.

The Importance of PR to Small Businesses

As a small business, you may not believe that your business activities are newsworthy. Yet, although you may be a small business owner, having publicity can still help bring attention to your products or services. Without public relations, no matter the size of your business, you can’t grow in your industry.

PR strategies aim to build upon, promote, and manage your business’s brand reputation. By taking advantage of PR, whether it be through using PR strategies or by working with a PR team, you can access connections that’ll help cultivate your business’s brand reputation.

Why Work with our Press Release Writers

If you are having difficulty writing a press release for your news, event, or announcement, then you’re in luck. Although you know your project best, you may not have the time or the journalistic expertise to make an effective press release for it.

That’s where our writing services come in to help. When you work with one of our seasoned editors at eReleases, you’ll get a well-written and concise press release that best promotes your project.

Attract New Customers to Your Business

News release vs. press release: knowing the difference between the two is essential when you do something involving public relations. No matter if you’re a small business or a large corporation, using these PR strategies can help build your brand reputation.

If you have any more press release-related questions, then contact us and we’ll be happy to do our best to answer them. Or, you may browse our website to find more PR-related content or to learn more about our services.

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