Press release terminology

Press releases are a public relations staple. The dissemination of information will happen in one way or another, even if it doesn’t look like a paper copy traditionally used in PR.

When first starting out in the PR industry there were a lot of terms used in relation to press releases that were unknown to me.

These terms could be helpful to anyone just starting a PR career or to someone who is working directly with people in the PR industry.

Here are my top five with their explanations…

1. Boilerplate

These are facts about the company and often a short description, placed at the end of the press release. If the company has recently won any awards, these could be mentioned here too.

2. Embargo

This is a date and time put on a release by the public relations team. Media are only meant to announce and share this information after this set time. There is no law against publishing it before the time set, so there is a risk that a journalist might leak the information early. Although this would be detrimental to the journalist as this behaviour would not create a good relationship between the PR practitioner and the media person who published it before the embargo.

Some stories must be sent out with an embargo to allow reporters, publications and bloggers the time to prepare the story so it’s ready to go live when the information becomes public.

3. Sending over the wire/wire service

This is a press release distribution service that charges for its use, like Businesswire or PR Newswire. Releases are sent via a service that disseminates the information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Mostly this is used for breaking national news and big business news.

Other software is available for sending out press releases at other levels of news too. These also charge and offer a variety of different other services, like media monitoring, too.

4. Pitch

The information in press releases can be pitched in to journalists to gauge their interest in a story. This can be done in many different ways, by phone, email, or video. The approach is bespoke to each person the story is being pitched at.

5. Bites of the cherry

Determining which angle of a story will generate press interest and the most coverage.

I hope this helps if you’re new to the PR industry and press releases!

3 thoughts on “Press release terminology

  1. Hello,
    Pleasure to meet you and thank you for visiting my blog page and having a follow. I appreciate the support and look forward to reading more blog post from you in the future, This was a very handy blog post, some of this terminology I didn’t know what it meant, thank you!


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