The Press Release Still Lives!

Lately, I’ve seen, over and over, the proclamation that the classic PR tool, the press release, is outdated and not useful. When asked the question “when is the right time to start writing and pushing press releases for a new business,” this writer answered with ‘Never.’

While I understand the basis of the statement – everything’s digital now, content is king, press releases aren’t personalized to particular journalists, etc., etc. So, what’s the value of the traditional press release in this new media environment? Here are four things to remember when deciding whether to issue a press release:

  • Press releases can be an initial introduction of a company for writers, and while that release might not drive immediate coverage, it can serve to put the company on the radar. And, with a well-targeted pitch individualized to a reporter alongside the release, that press release can keep your audiences abreast of developments in your company.
  • What’s the first thing someone does when wanting to learn about a company? Google it, of course. Since press releases are part of the Google search algorithms for the ‘In the News’ section, issuing a press release creates a credible ‘list’ of search results for a company that generally look like real news articles. Not to mention, everything lasts forever on the Internet.
  • Media often need a press release to serve as the foundation for coverage. The rule of story construction is still ‘who, what, when, where, why,’ and that’s what a press release provides. This critical information is presented in a journalistic fashion, and it’s the information reporters are used to receiving.
  • Building credibility is often tough for young companies – even when said company has a ground-breaking product or service. There’s a lot of noise out there, and it’s usually hard to hear over the tumult – so even a start-up can create some ‘presence’ by issuing a solidly written, news-based press release through a service like Business Wire or PR Newswire. It’s a relatively small cost to get some visibility.

Press releases still have a viable and essential role to play for public relations programming, and while you might not see immediate top-tier coverage, it’s still a great way to begin to build visibility and credibility for your company.