A feature, in PR writing, is similar to a press release in that it’s a story pitched to members of the media in hopes of getting exposure for a person, organization, or website. Features can also be formatted similarly to a press release, and are even distributed in a similar way (through fax, email, mail, or distribution services).
Differences Between Features and Press Releases
Despite their similarities, features and press releases have a few key differences. First of all, while press releases are designed to pitch news stories, features pitch evergreen content (information that doesn’t become “stale” or irrelevant, or at least not quickly).
Another difference between press releases and features is in the distribution. While press releases are often distributed to as many media outlets as possible, many features are targeted to one particular newspaper, magazine, website, or other outlet.
The third big difference between features and press releases is in their intended use. While press releases are supposed to inspire further research to allow journalists to develop a custom story, features are designed to be published as-is.
The PR Benefit of Feature Writing
On the surface, features are just articles. Their benefit is entirely based on the distribution and publication in a media outlet that would lead to exposure in the appropriate niche, industry, local area, or simply in front of the intended target audience. Within the content of a feature, the writer would include a quote or some other way of mentioning the company or person trying to get exposure. The general concept is to make that person or organization appear to be an authority and quality source in the subject area. While one feature can carry that benefit if picked up by a large media outlet, another technique is to try to publish a series of features in one subject area, in the hopes that the person quoted will eventually become a go-to media source for that media outlet when future stories dealing with similar subjects come up.