Are Press Releases Worth the Effort?
By Cara Sloman, executive vice president, Nadel Phelan, Inc.
The old-school tactic of mailing out physical media kits, complete with color slides and product sheets, is thankfully a thing of the past. But some tools of the PR trade have endured, despite massive changes in technology. The press release is one of them.
In a world where news comes to us in an unending stream of consumable bites, are press releases worth the effort today?
Why Do Press Releases? Four Reasons
Press releases are still relevant, but how to use them has changed. Blasting them out in impersonal bulk emails won’t likely result in coverage, and Google has adjusted its algorithms to dissuade key word stuffing for SEO purposes. But press releases still carry a number of strengths:
- Journalists like them: According to Cision’s State of the Media Report, journalists around the world have ranked press releases and news announcements as their most valuable form of content for three years running.
- Messaging clarity: Writing a press release forces marketing and PR teams to clarify and hone their message.
- Demonstration of momentum: Even if your press release goes on your website, the news becomes part of your organization’s story and shows visitors forward movement over time.
- Part of the whole: A fact-filled news release can be a powerful tool for securing media coverage.
Three Tips for Better Press Releases
We’ve seen first-hand how a press release can be a powerful news-sharing asset. But there’s a caveat: it can’t just be any news or announcements that only you care about. Press releases must be used appropriately.
- Choose your content wisely – Many things happen in your organization; not many of them are press release-worthy. You may be thrilled about your new logo, but no one outside the organization will be. Unless your news is something a reporter would be excited to cover, a press release will likely not result in quality coverage.
- Make quality the goal – If you consistently release non-news, journalists will start to overlook your company. You don’t want this to happen, because it means that when you actually have important news, less reporters will cover it because many of them have written you off as a poor source of information.
- Create consumable news – Press releases can come in a variety of content formats today. For instance, videos and images can be embedded in releases. If your news involves statistics or other figures, make them stand out with an infographic or other visual representation. Or if your announcement includes multiple benefit statements or product features, consider using bullet points. This is more likely to catch people’s attention than blocks of text.
Keep At It
The digital age has changed many aspects of PR and communications, but the press release remains a trusted source of news. How to use them has changed, but their effectiveness has not. Rather than publicizing every company development in your announcements or blindly bulk-emailing them, use the tips above to get your message out in an impactful way.
We specialize in crafting high-quality press releases. If you need help with your communications strategy, reach out.