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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

5 Reasons the Press Release Still Matters

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Why Press Releases are Still Essential for PR

With the advance of social and digital channels as a way to reach audiences and increasingly sophisticated PR analytics available to help public relations professionals 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 PR and marketing strategy.

Press releases help you establish relationships with the media. 

A press release can be an excellent way to start a dialogue with a reporter and start building those media relationships that are oh so important in PR. Journalists are inundated with dozens – sometimes hundreds – of irrelevant pitches and press releases each week. If you’re including a well-written press release in your media pitch, and it is relevant to their audience or the topics they cover, 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.)

Press releases establish brand credibility and help 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.

Press releases can drive 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 and other search engines provides enhanced exposure to wider audiences. 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. 

Press releases 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.

Journalists want press releases.

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 content ideas ideas, press releases and news announcements are the types of content the vast majority of journalists (68%) say they want from brands. Approaching a journalist with a good press release that is relevant to their audience is also a great way to build key media relationships that can lead to more earned media coverage down the line.

Maximize the Power of Your Press Release

A press release on its own can only do so much. It must also be well written, newsworthy, and clearly demonstrate what you’re promoting and why it matters to your audience. And while theys remain one of the best ways to get in front of large audiences quickly, but they alone aren't enough to ensure your brand stands out or captures the attention of the media. They must be integrate them into a well-crafted pitching strategy for a more holistic media outreach approach.

Interested in more insight from journalists about what it takes to get more earned media coverage and amplify your brand story? Check out our infographic below, or read the full 2024 State of the Media Report. 


Mary Lorenz

Mary Lorenz is Editorial Director at Cision and writes about best practices and thought leadership for marketing, communications and public relations professionals. She has a background in marketing, public relations and journalism and over 15 years of experience in copywriting and content strategy across a variety of platforms, industries and audiences.