Is the Press Release Dead?

By: Chris Cline
Category: Media | Strategy

More than 300,000 press releases were sent out over their wire service last year, according to PR Newswire. But should we really be sending out press releases? Our clients ask about this frequently. The answer depends on the goal of the release.  

Are we strictly trying to get the media’s attention? Are we trying to get specific news to rank in search for SEO purposes? Are we trying to get the news out that we don’t think the media will cover? These answers help determine whether a press release is warranted or if a well-crafted pitch to the media is a better approach.  

 A press release is a traditional form of communication used by organizations to distribute news and announcements to the media. Despite all odds, it is still alive and relevant in today’s digital age! However, its effectiveness and impact have certainly evolved with the changing media landscape and the rise of online communication channels. 

While traditional media outlets continue to receive and publish press releases, the digital era has given rise to various other platforms and methods for organizations to disseminate news. Social media, company websites, blogs, and email newsletters have become popular channels for sharing information directly with target audiences. 

But the press release still holds value in certain contexts. It remains an important tool for conveying official news, corporate announcements, and updates requiring a formal tone or compliance with regulatory requirements. Press releases can also help in establishing credibility, reaching a broader audience through media coverage, and providing journalists with the necessary information for crafting news stories. 

 However, organizations are increasingly adopting a multi-channel approach to maximize their reach and engage with audiences directly. They may use a combination of press releases, social media updates, blog posts, and other forms of content to communicate their messages effectively. 

 Let’s look at some of the common reasons press releases are sent out.   

  1. Earned media – A press release alone is most often not enough to secure earned media. It can be used to provide background information. However, including a tailored pitch at the top of the press release offering key points and a subject matter expert to interview is the best way to approach the media if the goal is to secure earned media.  
  2. SEO – If the goal is to get news out that ranks in search, a press release is a great vehicle to accomplish that. Top wire services like BusinessWire and PR Newswire are often within the top five of web traffic drivers. 
  3. Controlling the message – A press release helps enable an organization to control the message with reporters by providing a road map as they write their story.  
  4. Diverse audiences – The media typically isn’t the only target for a press release. The audience can include stakeholders, partners, investors, internal staff, prospective new hires, and customers. 
  5. Bringing credibility to major announcements – For news like a funding announcement, earnings, or an acquisition, reporters often want a press release because it makes the announcement official.  

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