How Relevant Are Press Releases?
Press releases used to be a cornerstone of any PR strategy. But today they are similar to a fax machine. In other words, not unheard of, but certainly anachronistic. At least they are for many PR professionals.
I spend a good deal of my time speaking to companies about their needs for PR and marketing. These are high-level executives and the first thing they often mention is the need to “put out some press releases.” I used to explain that press releases are a bit passé in this day and age. But now I simply nod my head as I know they are talking about getting the word out about their company, and saying “press release” is how they express this desire. In fact, press releases still have a place in your PR strategy and I recommend companies still use them – for the right reasons.
Unless it is big news – like a merger, new product or earnings – press releases will likely not result in any articles or calls from reporters. For most companies, articles and interviews will come from having close relations with journalists. Your PR representative should know – or get to know – most of the reporters who cover your industry. They should be sending useful news about your company to these writers on a regular basis. This is how press coverage is earned.
Press releases do help to show activity, increase SEO and keep a record of key events. Your potential clients will likely visit the press section of your website when they are considering doing business with your company. If they see you are sending out at least one release a month, it will show that you are a dynamic company that is doing interesting things. It is also a good way to keep track of items like when you put out the latest version of a product, signed a particular client or last spoke at an industry event.
So, by all means, continue to put out press releases. Even if these are no longer the main way to earn media coverage they are still a valuable element of any communications strategy.