Why the Traditional Press Release Lives On

They’re at it again. If you search online for PR trends, you’ll see the same one you’ve likely seen for at least a decade—or even heard from your PR firm:

The traditional press release is dead.

Just as I’ve done every time I see that proclamation, I have to strongly disagree.

According to one such recent press release doomsdayer, Forbes contributor John Hall, “Unless you’re Apple—or you have some truly groundbreaking product—you’re wasting your resources if you’re continuing to write and distribute traditional press releases to journalists and outlets to get them to cover your news.”

That simply isn’t true. It’s even less true if you’re using them in conjunction with Hall’s other recommendations I most definitely agree with: contributing educational thought leadership content, taking advantage of social media, developing relationships with industry leaders and influencers, and incorporating “quality visuals in your messages to get the attention of journalists and outlets that can help you spread your message.”

So why should the traditional press release live on?

• They can get you in the door—and keep you there: Sending a press release, along with a solid pitch individualized for the target audience, is still one of the best ways to keep your audiences informed and up to date on developments within your company or how the industry is benefiting from what your company offers. While all won’t get you ink, they are a solid way of letting everyone know you’re alive and well.

• The media still requests them: More often than not, the media you pitch, especially by phone, will ask you if you have a press release about your news. It’s what they are used to, and it helps them get the “who, what, when, where and why” that makes up a news story in a succinct and organized manner. They can still be useful to your target media if they are truly interesting and if you’re using them with other methods of getting the word out.

• They show credibility and legitimacy: As Steve Cody of Peppercomm wrote in last year, “Because it’s written in a news style, a press release implies your company is a legitimate enterprise in a way a print advertisement simply cannot.” Simply put. Even a small startup without a game-changing product can look like a legitimate, successful company worth covering because of a press release, especially when it goes over a major press release distribution site like BusinessWire or PRNewswire.

• Google says they are news: According to new Google search algorithms in 2015, Google now lets press releases show up in the “In the News” section of its search engine alongside legitimate media articles. That means they look like real news stories. In addition, once they’re off the news site, they’ll still live in perpetuity for years to come.

In any case, press release are still a valuable—and credible—way to get your story in front of the media and potential customers looking for what you have to offer. While they all might not get you coverage in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times (at least not immediately), they could still result in more local or industry coverage that might be even more important for the success of your company.

Also, to keep your press release content fresh for the digital age, review these 10 tips outlined by my colleague, Jordan Karpowtiz. These points, like the press release, live on.

—Kelly Wanlass is a senior PR manager at SnappConner PR.