Apparently, the press release is dead. Or at least that’s what everyone wants you to believe. While it’s true the way we use press releases is much different than how we’ve used them in the past, there’s still use for them making them very much alive.
Years ago, it was normal to blast a press release out to a slew of contacts or distribute it over a wire to secure as many hits or unique monthly views as possible. Even though that approach did not always result in the most strategic placement, it was viewed as standard practice. With less staff and more work, now more than ever, reporters rely on PR folks to give them newsworthy, turnkey content that they can share with their target audience. In-depth thought leadership pieces are more valuable to trade media, but this fact still does not make the press release useless.
When people make claims that that the press release is dead, they are referring to the historical way press releases were used. And that’s because a press release shouldn’t be considered the end-all, be-all when communicating with media. But it is still a tool that has a purpose and can be effective when used correctly.
Below are some effective ways to use a press release:
- Official company content. No matter how many fancy, new tools they use to communicate content (infographics, memes, listicles, etc.), when you get a reporter on the phone the first question they have is: “Can you send me the press release on this?” That’s because the press release is still viewed as an authoritative piece that confirms accurate company information. With a press release to pull from, there is less risk of misinterpreting information, which is good for you and the reporter.
- For “additional information.” A press release doesn’t have to work in a silo. A press release is a good source of factual information reporters can use to craft a story after they’ve received a targeted pitch or have had another type of meaningful connection with the company. In those instances, the facts included in the press release can add value to the output.
- As a reporter touchpoint. Developing relationships with key reporters is one of the cardinal rules of PR, and it makes all the difference. Once that relationship is established, a press release is much better received and increases its likelihood of getting a read. This is not to say we should create a press release for the sake of creating them. But if we have one and it’s relevant to the reporter, that press release can be a good touchpoint for an established relationship.
The next time you develop a press release, consider how you plan to use it and ensure your approach is as effective as possible. It’s not time to entirely disregard the press release just yet.