With the advance of social and digital channels as a way to reach audiences and increasingly sophisticated PR analytic available to help PR pros shape their campaigns, it would be easy to write off the press release as an archaic media outreach strategy. But it would also be a mistake.
How so? Glad you asked! Here are five reasons the press release is very much alive and beneficial to any marketing strategy.
- They help you establish relationships with the media. A press release can be an excellent way to start a dialogue with a reporter. Journalists are inundated with dozens – sometimes hundreds – of irrelevant pitches and press releases each week. If you’re reaching out to a reporter with a well-written press release that is relevant to their industry or beat, they will take notice and appreciate it. Even if they can’t cover the topic or product your press release relates to this time, they are more likely to work with you in the future because you’ve established that credibility.
(While we’re on the subject, let’s discuss the difference between a pitch and a press release: Think of a pitch as a teaser to pique a journalist’s interest. Provide just enough information about what’s going on with your brand to grab their attention. Pitches work well for product updates or to introduce an employee as a media expert to be used for quotes. Keep it short, preferably in a bulleted list, and send via email.
On the other hand, a press release is a factual account of something newsworthy. Your press release needs to provide the who, what, where, when and – most importantly – why your news matters. Again, writing a clear, conciise press release goes a long way and will help you establish a trusted relationship with journalists.)
- They establish credibility and help you control the narrative. The media and consumers view press releases as a trusted source of data and information and, as evidenced in the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, the majority of consumers say brand trust is essential to buying.
Consistently distributing accurate press releases allows you to build credibility over time with journalists as well as existing and potential customers. It is especially useful for start-ups and growing small businesses to get positive word out about themselves.
Press releases also enable you to drive the narrative around your brand. In addition to publicizing important company information, the press release can be used to mitigate an internal crisis or negative external press. By providing credible facts without spin, you can clarify internal conflict to reestablish a positive brand image and public perception.
- They help build SEO traffic. A well-written press release utilizing SEO best practices for search algorithms allows search engines to find, match, index and rank your press release. Having a high-ranking press release on Google (where it’s estimated that around 89,000 searches are conducted every second) and other search engines provides enhanced exposure to current and future customers. So be thoughtful about how you create your press release. Search algorithms are looking for well-written content that naturally incorporates keywords and links.
Repurposing your press release to create additional content will also help your brand rank higher in search (after all, content is king, so the more relevant, timely content you have, the better). Most press releases can quickly and easily (and cost-efficiently) be repurposed for your blog, website and social media. For example, turning a press release into a blog article takes much less time than researching and writing an entirely new piece – after all, you already have all the facts and data in front of you. You’re providing the same information, but by communicating it differently, you make it more accessible to new audiences.
- They can increase customer engagement.Thanks to online news distributors and the rise in social media, you can get your press release in front of a wider audience than ever. Distributing a well-crafted press release provides the opportunity to rank high in search, catch the attention of current and potential customers, and leads to direct engagement and sharing on social channels. You have the opportunity to reach an untapped audience that you may never have considered before.
While you’re at it, make sure to include multimedia such as photos, videos or infographics with your press release when and wherever possible. Not only do press releases with multimedia see higher engagement rates, customers and the media are more likely to share multimedia via social platforms than text-only releases.
- Simply put: Journalists want them. Journalists are always on the lookout for a good story, and press releases remain one of their top resources for finding stories, according to Cision’s State of the Media report. In addition to naming press releases as the most useful resource for getting stories, press releases and news announcements are the types of content the vast majority of journalists (78%) say they want from brands.
Bottom line: Press releases remain one of the best ways to get in front of your target audience. The key to standing out is making sure your press release is well written and clearly demonstrates what you’re promoting and why it matters to your audience.