Unless you're a Fortune 500 company distributing press releases that move stock prices, it is unlikely that media outlets are grabbing your news hot off the wire. A staple of the PR trade, the press release is a commonly misused vehicle for transferring information to reporters and editors who cover your industry.
They are powerful tools for search engine optimization, but that's a story for another time. And they are great for garnering what I call "blurbs" or industry briefs in trade publications and business journals: "Sandy Wilson was named CFO of Widgets Inc." or "Dewey, Cheatem and Howe LLP Launches New Personal Injury Practice." While those items are newsworthy for a nanosecond, neither of these mass distribution messages builds a story for your target media outlets.
Take the example of a financial services company that recently secured a valuable regulatory designation. The formal press release announcement was sufficiently newsworthy that the financial trades posted it to their websites and published it in their magazines. But to mainstream business writers (IMPORTANT: those who reach an audience of potential clients for this company) it did not appear on its face to be something they would write about. That's when it pays to put on your editor's hat and think like a reporter: What's the backstory here? Why is this story interesting to anyone but me? If you were talking about this news item at a dinner party, you wouldn't recite a bunch regulatory legalese (unless you were trying to be bore). You would talk about the incredible investment of time and money, the risk, the rewards, what your clients thought about it, the mistakes you made, and the lessons you learned. In essence, you would tell the story behind the story, the one that everyone really cares about.