Today's work world requires the accurate, efficient delivery of information. There are innumerable media and formats with which to convey a set of data, two of which include the newsletter and the press release. Although each format fulfills similar functions, they different in critical ways.
One common difference is the target audience. Press releases, as the name implies, are designed to be disseminated to outside media outlets. They are a form of external communications that work best when disseminated widely. Newsletters, in contrast, tend to be internal communications circulated within a business or agency. They may not be confidential, but their target audience is internal personnel. However, it is important to note that some businesses may also generate an external newsletter as part of a marketing strategy.
The standard press release format begins with a company or organization heading (including contact information and, often, the phrase "for immediate release.") It then delves into the subject matter, usually a few paragraphs and no longer than a page. A press release infrequently contains graphics or images. A newsletter, in contrast, has more freedom of format. Often they are patterned to resemble the front page of a newspaper, characterized by stylistic arrangement of articles, images, different sizes and styles of font. They may include content from multiple authors.
A press release is designed to convey a single piece of information in a clear, succinct way. Press releases are generally issued in connection with a single development, event, major change or things of that nature. A newsletter, on the other hand, may be more varied in its subject matter. A newsletter can discuss singular news items but also features columns, sidebars and other subject matter.
The function of a newsletter or press release depends on the organization that is publishing it. If a newsletter is designed for internal communications, its purpose will generally be to inform employees about recent changes, current status and impending developments. However, an external newsletter sent to an outside audience will serve as a marketing tool to promote the business or organization. A press release also promotes its publishing business, but its function relates more to news dissemination and less to marketing. Press releases are specifically designed to generate media coverage.