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What Are Online Press Releases? A Guide

Online press releases are often disregarded by business owners, simply because most people assume that they’re archaic communication tools. Even so, communication is a crucial skill that you can never take for granted, especially if you are developing a brand. While it’s easy to assume that the press release is no longer relevant, the traditional press release has evolved over the years. As such, the modern version of the press release is more effective than ever before, especially in today’s digital landscape.

Online press releases play an important role in making important business announcements. So, what’s a press release? And what does it do? Here is a guide on online press releases:

What’s an online press release?

An online press release is a virtual document that communicates a newsworthy announcement or development in a business. It’s not an endorsement, advertisement, or sales pitch. Rather, it’s a means to share a story about your company with the media in the hopes that they will see something of value for their readers and publish it. The basic goal of a virtual press release is to share your most recent news with the public, earn credibility in the industry, and remain top of mind as a brand.

In order to achieve this, you must convince news outlets that your story is newsworthy. If they are interested, they will pick your press release and write an article about it. Besides curating your press release for the media, it’s important to optimize it for search engines. This will help you to rank in relevant organic searches.

Types of Online Press Releases

Online press releases serve the same primary role – to make announcements. Nevertheless, today’s press release comes in several different forms. In fact, there are over 10 different types of press releases. Each release is designed to share a different type of announcement. Let’s have a look at a few:

  1. Event press releases – these are specifically designed for announcing upcoming events such as fundraising events, tradeshows, and conferences.
  2. Product updates press releases – if there’s a noteworthy update on your products, it’s important to make an announcement. You should use this press release to list the benefits of this update and highlight its impact on the quality of the product as well as customers’ lives.
  3. Acquisition and merger press releases – merging with a new company makes for a newsworthy story. This is even more exciting news if your company is merging with a renowned company.
  4. Product launch press releases – this is the most common press release. It is used specifically to announce the launch of a new business or new products in an existing business.
  5. Blog post press releases –these press releases have a unique format since they are specifically designed for bloggers and not typical media outlets.
  6. Video news press releases – this is the most recent type of press release, and it’s gradually becoming popular. It combines the typical press release with an engaging video clip.
  7. Rebranding press releases – if you are giving your business a facelift, whether you’re changing the theme, logo, or name, you must announce it. You need your current and prospective consumers to remain updated about these major changes, otherwise you might lose loyal customers along the way.
  8. New partnership press releases – if you are getting a new partner onboard in your business, consider using this press release.
  9. Breaking news press releases – as the name indicates, these are press releases that announce breaking news that is timely.

Elements of Online Press Releases

There are basic elements that an online press release must contain in order to be effective. In fact, it’s these elements that determine whether it will make it to the news outlet or not. If you leave out any of these recommended features, it doesn’t matter how great your content is. Journalists are unlikely to take you seriously if it looks like you don’t know how to write a press release. Having said that, your press release must contain:

  • A headline – needs to be catchy and engaging
  • Summary – briefly describes the message in the press release
  • The first paragraph or opening paragraph – this paragraph must answer the five basic questions, which are “why”, “when”, “what”, “who”, and “where”.
  • Second paragraph followed by the main body
  • Boilerplate – covers standard information about your brand’s reason for being. The boilerplate should end with relevant contact details so that journalists and readers can follow up with you easily.

Benefits of Online Press Releases

  • Cost-effective solution – It’s cheaper to create and distribute press releases than it is to publish and distribute traditional commercial and retail.
  • Improves your business profile – You gain recognition as a trusted authority in the market when you make an announcement using a press release.
  • Positions your brand as trustworthy – When your press release starts making its rounds, reporters and journalists will start to reach out to you. A good press release will position you as an expert in your field, and that’s all it takes to acquire consumer trust.
  • Has great potential – Online press releases have potential as marketing tools because they rely on a calculated approach and target a specific audience.
  • Good for publicity – In addition to communicating your message, an online press release exposes your brand to prospective customers.

How to Write Online Press Releases

Here are a few tips to follow if you want to write an effective press release:

  • Formatting

Before you begin writing your release, you should learn about the standard format for the specific type of press release that you’ve chosen. Next, you should use accurate facts to support your claims. Answer the basic 5W questions. Sharing answers to these questions will give your press release the right structure You must also include a headline and subtitle, as well as a quote or two and a boilerplate.

  • Timing

The timing of your press release determines whether your press release will get noticed or not. For instance, if you send your press release out in the middle of a media storm, it’s unlikely to capture any attention because journalists are probably working on the bigger story. Similarly, if you send your press release out during the weekend, it will probably get buried at the bottom of journalists’ inboxes. Consider sending your release when you would normally expect people to be at work. Sending your press releases during morning hours also gives an interested journalist enough time to develop a story idea, pitch it to their team and write it. Keep in mind that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday have proven to be the best days to send press releases.

  • Distribution

To get your online press releases to the target audience, you should use credible PR distribution networks. The channel you choose must have access to your target audience, otherwise it’ll all be a waste of time. Alternatively, you can hire a PR agency to avoid this step. Working with PR professionals will boost the chance of your press release reaching the target audience.


As you can see, writing online press releases is manageable with the right skills and resources. By following the tips above, you can write a press release that positions your brand as an industry expert and draws customers in. If you feel like you need expert help at writing your online press releases, then you can always turn to experts for help.


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