What Is an Embargoed Press Release? (Including Examples)

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embargoed press release

Approximately 25% of businesses publish at least 10 press releases each year. While some of these may be about relatively minor news, some can be critical stories you need to get out. One possible way to ensure you get your news out when and how you want is with an embargoed press release.

If you’re trying to figure out whether to use a regular or embargoed press release, it’s critical that you fully understand what goes into an embargoed release. Let’s take a look at what they are, how they’re used, the pros and cons, and how you can make the most out of your press release.

What Is an Embargoed Press Release?

Embargoed press releases are press releases that you send to media outlets before the official publication date. This can give journalists extra time to review the release, prepare their stories, and request additional information if needed.

Regular press releases are titled “for immediate release” and outlets can publish them anytime. By contrast, an embargoed press release says “not for immediate release” and includes a publication date.

How Is an Embargoed Press Release Used?

Female Bullhorn

Embargoed press releases are most often used to announce big, time sensitive news. For a business, this could include a merger, new project, change in management, or research results. Generally, these announcements are somewhat time-constrained.

For example, you might want to use an embargoed press release in the acquisition of a publicly traded company. In this case, you legally cannot directly share details with the public until a certain time and need to do so carefully.

Announcements that are complex and need careful explanation are also ideal candidates for embargoed releases. This can allow the journalists you work with to gather enough information to create an accurate and thorough story.

When information is critical and can impact public safety, you may also want to use an embargoed release. Because of this, government officials usually use them to announce policy decisions and medical journals will use them for health announcements.

How to Embargo A Press Release

1. Determine the Embargo Date and Time:
Decide on the exact date and time when the media can publish the information. Ensure that this timing aligns with your organization’s strategic goals and any related events or announcements and ideally, with key market and news cycle release times.

2. Clearly Mark the Embargo on Your Press Release:
At the top of your press release, clearly state (if possible, in red type) that the information is embargoed and include the exact date and time when the embargo is lifted. For example:
Embargoed Until: January 3, 2024 8:00am EST

Examples of Embargoed Press Releases

Here are some samples of embargoed press releases so you can see how it’s done:

Benefits of Embargoed Press Releases

Embargoed press releases can be a valuable tool for getting your story out. If you take full advantage of a press embargo, you can release valuable information exactly when you need to.

Embargoed Press Releases Give The Media A Chance To Create A Better Story, Improving Your Message

An embargoed press release sent out several days before the embargo release date allows journalists additional research and writing time. This can help ensure your journalist writes a good story that is accurate and contains all the necessary details, which oftentimes means a better story.

Having this extra time can also give you a bit more control over exactly what is released. If you need to approve any information or provide additional details, you will have time to do so.

Embargoed Press Releases Allow Synchronized Release Across Multiple Media Sources

In addition, it can help synchronize publicity. Doing so can be critical if you need the story to break at a specific time. For instance, you might want to use one in sharing information about a joint venture or merger in order to keep your competition in the dark regarding the news.

Disadvantages of Embargoed Press Releases

While embargoed press releases are highly valuable if used correctly, they sometimes have some downsides.

Early Releases – Embargo Dates Are Sometimes Violated

Media outlets are prohibited from releasing the information contained in the press release before the publication date. The information is considered confidential. Unfortunately, leaks happen and there have been more than a few cases where journalists released information before the publication date.

This means releasing an embargoed press release could be risky.

A journalist might get excited and push the story through for early release. This sometimes happens because the outlet wants to be the one to break the story. Other times, a journalist might claim that they didn’t see the publication date.

Either way, an early release could put a strain on your relationship with media outlets. In order to avoid these kinds of issues, never send an embargoed press release to a media outlet that has a reputation for early releases. In addition, always try to build a relationship with the outlet before providing them with valuable information.

Embargoes Are Disliked by Some Journalists

In addition, many journalists do not like embargoed releases. Some public relations managers send an embargoed release to every media outlet that reports on their industry. This can be a downside to journalists who want to be the one to break the story.

If everyone is only able to release the information at once, it’s really only valuable until the first outlet has released the story. After that, there is less of an incentive to publish a story that has already been covered, particularly if they don’t have additional information to add.

Embargoed Press Releases Are Harder to Work With

While embargoed news is important to you, it can be difficult to work with for journalists. Journalists receive up to 100 pitches a day, and they need to make sure the stories they cover are relevant and interesting to their audience.

For example, journalists may not find a speaker at an event quite as fascinating as you, making the embargo an annoying barrier to coverage. Another common roadblock is embargoes that are set too long. Unfortunately, ones longer than a week may be forgotten about and not covered as a result.

How to Send an Embargoed Press Release

Correctly managing and sending your press release can mitigate many of the concerns that come along with embargoed releases. These are the top tips to avoid an embargoed PR controversy.

Be Wary about Time Constraints

You’ll need to manage your timing correctly when working with an embargoed release. Aim to send your release out at least two to five days before you want it announced. This will allow journalists enough time to build their stories.

However, you also shouldn’t send it out too early as this gives more opportunity for leaks. Generally, your release should go out no more than one week before the official announcement.

When sending your release, it’s best to reach out first, using a sneak peek of the announcement. Then, make sure to get a written agreement to the embargo before sending over the entire release. These steps are optional but can help to build trust between you and the outlet.

Include an Embargo Release Time and Time Zone On The Embargo Notification Line

Many PR professionals have had the frustrating experience of finding their carefully crafted communications strategy timing disrupted because they didn’t include a time or time zone in their embargo date announcement.

Imagine the embarrassment of having your story released at 12:01am when you thought it was happening at 8:00am. There’s an easy way to fix that…

Selective Embargoed Releases vs. News Exclusivity

You should be selective in who you send embargoed releases to. Only sending them to trusted outlets will reduce the likelihood of a leak. In general, it’s best to stick to about five reputable media outlets for an embargoed press release.

Alternatively, you could consider news exclusivity. This approach can help you get more attention or manage news that is particularly sensitive.

With this approach, offer the release to only one organization at a time. You’ll be able to have more control over the story and who gets to speak on it. In addition, you can gain more media credibility.

Create a Leak Management Plan

What happens if your story is accidentally (or purposefully) leaked before the embargo ends? Likely, other media outlets will quickly also cover the story in order to get ahead of it. You need a way to deal with what will happen if this occurs.

For some organizations, this might mean early action. For instance, if you were releasing information about a product launch, you might want to consider moving the official launch day forward. This will also require getting your team prepared to act quickly.

It’s also in good form to provide the media outlets that stuck to the agreement with additional information. You might want to send exclusive images or videos, statistics, or even access to expert or executive interviews. This can help them create better content as a reward for adhering to your request.

In addition, you should send a press release to all other media outlets informing them of the early release. This can help maintain your relationships with the other outlets. Otherwise, they may think there was unfairness in that they were told to wait while the outlet that released early was allowed to do so.

Use a Press Release Distribution Service

A press release distribution service can make it much easier to send out and manage press releases, whether they are embargoed or regular. They can send your press releases to major media outlets as well as subscribing journalists. This can help ensure you reach outlets that are trustworthy and will cover your story.

At eReleases, you can even target specific outlets by industry, putting your story in front of outlets with audiences that have more interest in your news. Plus, we use search engine optimization to help your story be found on major search engines, without using deceptive practices.

Take Advantage of Embargoed Press Releases

An embargoed press release can be a valuable tool to get your news out exactly when and how you want it. But, you need to be careful to avoid common stumbling blocks while doing so.

Sending your press release the right way and using a press release distribution service can make the process much easier. Get started with eReleases today!

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