DEFINITION of 'Press Release'

A press release is a piece of news companies send out to inform the public about something noteworthy. Financial services companies send these out to announce a new product, quarterly earnings report, or any other material news.

For example, an earnings release will highlight key financial metrics for the recently completed quarter and commentary from management. That includes headline revenue and earnings per share (EPS) number plus growth from the previous year and quarter. In addition to financial figures, press releases list valuable contact information that can assist investors in their research, like the company's web address, and contact and address information.

BREAKING DOWN 'Press Release'

A press release is produced by the company, not reporters or journalists, so it takes a subjective interpretation of the announcement. These days, it is difficult to distinguish between a press release and story published by a news publication. The best way to identify the source is by looking at the first few words of the piece. This will clarify the company or origin of the piece.

The two biggest publishers of press coverage are Business Wire and PR Newswire. BusinessWire is a global leader in press release distribution and regulatory disclosure. Public and investor relation professionals rely on the service to deliver their news to target audiences and trusted sources.

On average, the company publishes between 500 and 1000 releases per day across various sectors. PR Newswire effectively offers similar solutions. This includes a diverse collection of communication tools tailored for investor relations (IR), company news, press releases and disclosure requirements. Some areas of interest include investment vehicles, accounting and compliance, regulatory news, earnings and dividends, and the banking industry. This spans financial services, science and technology, and public policy.

Pros and Cons of Using a Press Release

Writing a press release is a great way to create buzz around products, partnerships or any noteworthy news. It nudges journalists and reporters to cover the story and build trust with a growing audience. The ultimate goal for companies in issuing a press release is to gain instant exposure, build trust with existing and prospective customers, and increase traffic to their website or stores. The benefits of press releases are clear but some limitations still remain. As a marketing tool, press releases alone can't support a marketing strategy. They are limited in reach and can come across as insincere or shallow. Companies produce the press release to showcase the good without any mention of the bad.

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