Press releases have long been known as THE tool for PR professionals to use to help businesses share stories and build a positive reputation with readers. They’ve helped businesses be seen by the right people, helped readers build connections with brands and have resulted in the growth of many businesses over the years.
So what changed? You guessed it … digital marketing. We now live in an age where a news story can break in 280 characters on Twitter rather than a day later in a newspaper, where the world is constantly hungry for information and readership of what is known as traditional print publications (notice I used the word print) has declined.
This has brought about a huge debate that has been going on for well over a decade – is the press release dead? When I’m asked this I always respond with a resounding ‘No’. For me, the press release isn’t dead, it’s simply evolving.
Want to know more? Here are 5 reasons why the press release isn’t dead.
#1: Press releases give you credibility
And they do it in a way like no other aspect of PR can. Why? Because someone else has chosen to publish your story. They’ve decided that what you’ve got to say has value and they’re choosing to share it with their readers. Whether they say so or not, this is a public endorsement of your brand.
For you to be seen in an online or print publication carries some weight with readers – after all that’s why they’re reading it in the first place. They have built trust with the publication in question and realise that you haven’t paid for it as you would an advert – you’ve pitched it, the journalist has validated it and printed it. That gives you and your brand an element of credibility and helps generate interest in your business.
#2: Press releases now have longevity
Have you ever heard the saying “today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip papers?’ This is no longer true because as we all know, it only takes a few seconds for someone to screenshot something posted online. In other words what is published on the internet stays on the internet.
The same goes for a press release. They now have more longevity than ever before because they’re online ready for Google to share links to them when people search. This can be both a good or bad thing, depending on the nature of the story. In fact, I’ve had some clients who have hired me with the sole purpose of distributing new press releases to try and push negative stories previously published on page 1 to page 3 onwards of Google results. The pages that no one bothers to look at. On the flip side, I’ve also been hired with the aim of trying to release news on companies that will fill page one to give them credibility online.
My point is that press releases are just as (or maybe even more) effective than they’ve ever been because of movement from print publications to digital. This follows nicely onto my third point.
#3: Press releases impact your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If a press release is written in the right way it can have a positive impact on your SEO and vice versa. This makes them as relevant as ever in 2019 for helping businesses to build an online presence.
When you think about it, when you search on Google, how many results come back that lead to a publication or a story printed online related to a brand? I know when I use Google a lot of the results come back with links to Forbes, inc.com, Huff Post etc. Do you see a trend here? Yep, they’re online publications.
The good news is that thanks to online PR services, it’s easy for your press release to be made into digital news. Obviously there are some caveats here – your story has to actually be newsworthy, the journalist has to choose to publish the release and it needs to be written well etc – but if you manage these things then you’re well on your way to getting the press coverage you want and creating some good SEO for your brand.
#4: Press releases are shared with an already established audience
If you write a blog, publish a podcast or create a piece of content you have to work hard to promote and share it with your audiences. If you write and distribute a press release your hard work lies in persuading the journalist that this story is relevant to their readers – a large, established audience with some people who are aware of your brand and others who aren’t.
If you’re struggling to grow your audience then writing and distributing press releases when story opportunities arise is a good way to grow your reputation alongside your other PR activity. The publication(s) already have audiences that you can tap into to generate interest and a buzz around your brand.
#5: Journalists always need news
This is something that will never change. As long as media outlets are out there, journalists will always be on the look out for news and it’s our responsibility as businesses to give it to them, BUT the way they look for it has now changed.
Journalists aren’t as reliant on their inbox as they once were thanks to social media. Now they monitor social media, use #journorequest and #helpareporter to ask Twitter users to come to them. That’s how the conversations work now.
They still answer their phone and reply to emails, but they also respond to pitches via DM, responses to tweets and Facebook / LinkedIn posts. In other words, it’s now easier than ever before to have conversations with journalists. In fact, they’re asking us to!
So if you want to find new opportunities for coverage, follow your target journos on social media and start having conversations with them. If you need help with this, read my blog 5 ways to connect with journalists.
So are press releases still relevant in 2019?
Absolutely, it’s just that the process has changed
PR used to be about writing and distributing a press release to key journalists, pitching in stories, getting press coverage and face-to-face networking. If your brand wasn’t seen in your target press or you weren’t seen at networking events then you weren’t doing your PR well. With the emergence of content marketing and social media, the lines have become a lot more blurred with us creating our own content for the world to see online.
What does this mean for press? It has now become is own entity as media relations. While it’s still very much a form of PR, the gap is widening as digital PR becomes more of a priority for brands. This may be because media relations as a whole has some PR to do for itself (ironic I know) with the public losing trust in the industry and the on-going fake news frenzy taking the spotlight.
So that is it. I’ve made my case on why I think the press release is still very much alive. It just needs to be used alongside other methods of PR to bring the best return on investment for your business.
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Do you need creating press releases? Get in touch with me. Call 0191 236 1010, 07941694702 or email email@example.com