Changing the Press Release

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Mike PauffmanMike Paffman, CEO, VIRGO PR

A lot of people across many industries believe that press releases are no longer useful. Since the PR and communications industries have come such a long way, they believe there’s no longer any need for press releases. However, businesses shouldn’t forget the real reason why press releases exist in the first place or dismiss them as an outdated tool simply because they’re not sure how to use them. 

There are many benefits to creating and distributing a press release for businesses, as they’re a great way for companies to summarize key information. Whether the information is shared on social media or simply sent out via email, press releases are a beneficial way for companies to present information in a timely and organized manner. While many argue that the newer innovative and creative communications programs can go a lot further than a simple press release, press releases are also a great way for businesses to generate earned media. Instead of simply using the press release to land a story in an outlet, it should be used alongside other tools for media pitching. 

Not only that, but press releases can allow companies to maintain better control over their messaging, which is also useful for company spokespeople. Additionally, if a business decides to use links in its press release, it can also become a tool for tracking website traffic. 

However, there are some downsides to press releases too, such as the fact that some companies might be tempted to rely on them as the only tool to promote products or services. The press release shouldn’t be the centerpiece of an entire promotional campaign because in that case the entire campaign would boil down to a business constantly sending out the same or similar press releases about its latest solution. 

Most of the time, press releases are sent out to journalists through distribution services, but end up getting ignored. This is generally because companies that use distribution services for their press releases send out the blast without personalizing each press release for the intended journalist or media outlet. That’s why businesses should take the time and effort to create more targeted press releases, and only send them out to relevant journalists or media outlets that already cover similar topics. 

There aren’t any media outlets in the country that use press releases in the same way that they receive them, which is generally a list of bullet points with a few sentences. Outlets might share the press release on their website so that readers can digest the information, but that doesn’t automatically translate to earned media coverage for the business. Seeing distributed press releases that are distributed on outlets as earned media can be detrimental to companies because those releases only end up getting archived by outlets. Even if a potential reader does visit a company’s website after reading its press release on a news outlet, it doesn’t benefit their buying journey because the message isn’t properly relayed. 

While press releases are one of the oldest tools in the PR book, they shouldn’t be overlooked or misused, because they can generate positive results when used in the right way.