Press Releases Still Have Value

This week at the PRSA International Conference in San Diego, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington in the course of her talk stated, “The press release is becoming obsolete…even though we still do it at the Huffington Post.”

Is the press release obsolete?  In a way it is, especially in the world of instant communication through Twitter, Facebook and blogs.  Years ago the only thing to define a company or brand from a news-oriented perspective was the information it disseminated via the press release. Obviously, that is no longer the case.

However, there still is merit in press releases and media still use and ask for them. Here at iMedia Public Relations we still see a value in issuing press releases for our clients. What is essential is that any release crafted for a client needs to provide newsworthy information to media and not serve as a commercial or sounding board for that client partner.  It also needs the pertinent facts, which should take priority over any flowery prose.

Press releases have always just been conduits for issuing information about an event, product, company, etc.  The intent is to give the editor, reporter, producer, etc. enough information to get them interested in your client.

Just the fact that you are issuing a press release is not enough to guarantee your company, product or event coverage. First, there is just too much information out there for a media member to navigate through. Reporters and editors want to be informed about companies that factor into their given beats or editorial coverage areas, but do not want to wade through a press release per day on your client’s message. 

As with any communications endeavor, one needs to know the audience it’s targeting.  For some companies, issuing a regular series of press releases and placing them on a newswire such as, PR Newswire or Marketwire to name a few such services, helps to build SEO for the company and allows it to place information in the public domain.

For others, mentions in key blogs and online communities, is the desired platform. Other programs require a comprehensive approach to target a desired audience over multiple platforms.

Whatever the target audience is, the press release should reflect it.  Social media press releases are the desired platform for the online community.  Business media and mainstream consumer press still like to see the facts laid out in a standard press release.  

In writing a press release, make sure it accomplishes its goal, which is to make the media want to learn more about your client partner.

Tom Cosentino


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