By Crisel Ortiz | October 14, 2019
The way journalists digest information is changing but that doesn’t mean that the press release is irrelevant it just means that the way we approach it is different too.
Thirteen years ago when I first started in PR I remember MAILING, yes, mailing press releases to newsrooms. Back then the distribution of news was much slower than it is today and newsrooms relied heavily on press releases to assign stories. I remember once pitching a reporter on a whim and she liked my idea, but immediately followed up with “send me the release!” It was just an expectation that reporters had.
Fast forward to today and journalists have much more on their plate given shrinking newsrooms. Not only are they to write stories that will get a lot of social shares, but they are expected to constantly churn articles across several beats. This just means they aren’t as reliant on the press release as they once were, and that doesn’t mean they are irrelevant.
Here are a few additional reasons why you should continue to issue press releases:
- Control the message: a press release will enable you to control the message that is shared with media, stakeholders, and customers. Once contact is made with a reporter, it, along with your agency, can help guide the narrative that the reporter decides to tell. It also ensures that all internal stakeholders are aligned as surely the release will go through several rounds of approvals.
- In lieu of interview: since the purpose of a press release is to share the who, what, where, when and how, it still has relevance for a reporter who is too busy to take an interview. Of course, securing interviews for every announcement is the goal, but again, with smaller newsrooms, the release should have all the information needed for a reporter to write a story.
- SEO: Yes, they are still relevant for SEO today. If done right, press releases can help you build high-quality backlinks because they have the potential to build authentic links quickly. Just make sure that you are issuing newsworthy announcements and targeting the right audience.
- Chronicle your company’s success: maybe its because I’m in PR or a millennial, but one of the first things I do when visiting a brand’s website is to go to their newsroom. I like to see what types of announcements they have made and am always pleased when they share milestones or community-based news such as donations or giving back. Remember, customers want to be a part of something and releases are a great way to chronicle your brand’s essence to create future loyalists.
Whether you are debating issuing a new product, feature, or service, or company milestone, press releases are still very much useful. They just have to work a little harder, as does your agency, to make sure it’s being seen by the right reporters.