Many marketers consider press releases to be one-size-fits-all proposition. Fortunately, smart publicity insiders know that such description is wrong. It is well-known that a press release should contain a 'hook', be written in an interesting and active manner and so on. But it has another side, which is often missed - you have to write proper press releases. Such thing as a 'one-size-fits-all' release does not exist because different occasions require different releases.
The News Release
Some PR practitioners are sure that 'news release' and 'press release' are interchangeable. Others use the term 'news releases' to describe the releases that carry actual news. Powerful, hard-hitting news releases are written about some occasions that occurred to the company, for example, a merge or winning some kind of award. Such news releases should be written in journalistic style (with the 3rd person language, no hyperbola and includes "what, where, why, why, when and how") with the usage of the 'inverted pyramid' (the most important information at the top).
Executive Appointment Release
Most brief releases that tell that someone new is hired or promoted, find themselves on page 10, in the column like 'People on the Move'. In order to generate real publicity smart PR practitioners use the executive appointment release. They do not simply announce about hiring or promoting somebody, they explain why the company has done that. For example, "Jane Smith has been hired as the company's new director of sales" does not sound as interesting and newsworthy as "Jane Smith has been hired as the company's new director of sales because she came from a major online retailer and is planning to overhaul the sales system to compare with the state-of-the-art systems..." The structure of a traditional press release is also used here.
The Media Alert
Media alerts are delusively easy. It is in fact a note from a company to TV, radio, newspaper editors who decide whether to cover a certain part of news event. The aim of a media alert is to tell journalists (very promptly) about the event, how it should be covered and why the media needs to cover it at all. The structure of media alerts is the same as that of a standard press release: a headline, a body, and a contact information. The whole document should be built with a few paragraphs which begin with what and followed with a short description (for example, Cookie Fest 2000, a celebration of sweet-tooth), next paragraph when and then where. And then goes the key paragraph that will explain why this Cookie Fest should be covered. For example, "the event will be a visual fest with lots of new inventions, colours, active and exotic."