The three emerging categories of press releases

Search has had a significant impact on the press release’s evolution.  While press releases are still viable means for announcing news, the ability to reach customers and prospects directly is a compelling benefit.

This benefit is shaping how press releases are used and from my vantage point, I see three emerging categories and detail them below.  I’ve also added example releases that we have completed to provide a sense of illustration for the points being made and to demonstrate that we follow our own best practices.

Here are the three categories of press releases:

1. The “for immediate release” press release.   This category falls into the traditional purpose of the announcement.  Ivy Lee is widely credited with developing the first press release in the early 1900s.  After a tragic train accident, Lee convinced his client, the Pennsylvania Railroad, to disseminate a public statement about the facts.  The concept took off and organizations from Wall Street to Main Street started using them to make announcements about new products and services among other things. Though modern press release distribution services like PRWeb offer the ability to add hyperlinks, video and images, the purpose is the same: to generate interest from the media with the goal of earning coverage.

Here’s an example: Vocus Opens Doors to Job Seekers; Hosts Free Recruiting and Employment Event

2.  The press release that IS the story.  This category of release is used when we think we have a story to tell that our customers and prospects would be interested in reading, but the news hook isn’t powerful enough to capture the media’s attention.  Since we can reach our audience directly, the release is a golden-tipped arrow in the content marketing quiver.  We write this release as a news story, just like we might read on any new site with a captivating lede and content explained in pyramid format.  Personally, I enjoy writing this type of release because I know it’s speaking to our customers.

Here’s an example: Emergent Themes from the 2012 Vocus User Conference

3.  The SEO press release.  This category of release is aimed at driving traffic to another location like a registration page or a blog post we are promoting.  Sure, we are still telling a story, but we’re just offering a part of it with the goal of interesting the reader enough to motivate them to review the complete content.

Here’s an example:  Customers Prove the Value of Vocus’ Products

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Have a view point on a fourth category?  Please share in the comments.

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