Did the Internet Kill Press Releases?

Posted by Pamela Keniston

Have press releases been relegated to the category of "vintage novelty"?

The idea of a press release might engender thoughts of a paperboy standing at the corner yelling "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" It's true that print media, telvision, and radio have long been major outlets for press releases. 

However, times are changing, and an ever-growing percentage of the population are now receiving their news online and by means of mobile devices. According to Pew, nearly 40% of Americans were getting their news online in 2012 - a figure that has no doubt since expanded. 

It may seem, then, that news releases are becoming antiquated. Is this really the case?

How to Put a Fresh Face On an Old Techique

In fact, press releases are alive and kicking, and can be a very useful tool for both the media and marketing. Occasions for which to send out a press release include: 

  • New product or service announcements
  • Changing an existing product or service
  • New logos or mission statement
  • New website
  • Joint ventures
  • Changes in corporate structure
  • Upcoming events (Open houses, trade show involvement, speaking engagements, award ceremonies)
  • New funding
  • Personnel changes
  • Corporate philanthropy (Volunteer work or donations)
  • New partners
  • Notable new customer
  • Media advisories
  • Milestones (Customers served, years in business)
  • Increase in market share or revenue
  • Expansion (new markets, new territories, new geographies)
  • Customer success stories

While sending out newsletters to your subscribers or posting these news-worthy events on your website is a good way to generate traffic, it will most likely be viewed in the light of just another marketing strategy. 

On the other hard, this same information in the form of a release may spark more interest; it gives a certain gravitas to your news.  When used properly, releases can result in media stories, increased website traffic, leads, and brand awareness. A well-developed news release will accomplish these goals by:

Providing fresh content. Having new content is important for website traffic.Releases are yet another valuable way to keep your content current. Include a section on your website for releases, just as you already have for blogs, whitepapers, and other content. Don't squash releases in with any news stories you've gotten but keep them as a separate item. That makes them easy to reference.

Providing a breadcrumb trail to your site. When several reputable news sources pick up your release you have the opportunity to drive web traffic. If you include a link, or better yet a call-to-action, to your website, your release will gather more leads than most of your other content. The good news is that readers want a trail leading them to your website. Who wants to read about the latest tablet release without a link to finding out more details?

Never saying die. Unlike other content, releases remain viable long after their initial release. News services often keep their press releases published for years. For you, this translates to increased traffic since these sites often get high SEO rankings (another reason to make sure your press release includes a link to your site).

Building your reputation as a  thought leader. You are an expert in your field, and you should be quoted as such. Make sure your release includes at least one quote. In this manner, you will build a reputation for being a thought leader in your industry.

Getting the media interested. Don't forget that press releases still are important media vehicles. In an instant they give a media person the key facts. Reporters may pull sentences directly from your release for their story or at least information.

Promoting the heck out of it. Your release can have many lives today thanks to social medial and content marketing. Publicize your release in social media, in blog posts, video, newsletters and any other relevant content. That way your release and the news behind it get as much visibility as possible.

Building good public relations. Remember that news releases help your customers and prospects know what you're up to. People talk about what they find interesting and noteworthy. Allow your press release to give them something noteworthy to talk about.

When Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co announced in May that his jeans "hadn't seen the inside of a washing machine" it created a viral reaction in the media and social media. The purpose of his comment was to create awareness regarding how much water a pair of jeans uses during its lifetime. Levis Strauss has created a "Care Tag for the Planet" that encourages customers to wash jeans less. Clearly, the media has played an intergral role in Levi's campaign. 

The press release is by no means extinct. By properly using this invaluable tool, you can make your content marketing campaign thrive. Have you found releases useful in your marketing strategy? Tell us all about it!

If you find yourself scratching your head when it comes to what kind of content to create, download our partner Hubspot's Practical Guide to Killer Content Marketing and learn how to get people reading your content. 

Free eBook: A Practical Guide to Killer Content Marketing








Jul 17, 2014

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx