WHY SHOULD I STILL USE PRESS RELEASES IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
The press release has not become obsolete or archaic. It has simply evolved as a marketing tool – yes, public relations is a marketing tool.
In the last decade – even more so in the past few years – the way we communicate updates has changed dramatically. Social media, blogs, influencers, and YouTube have shaped a world where information is consumed 24/7.
Just look at today’s youth with TikTok and Twitter getting updates on demand.
So it’s not surprising to read and hear opinions that reflect a view of press releases being an archaic tool used by our ancient but still living forebears in the mid-2020s. However, this is a mistake.
In fact, the press release has evolved with today’s digital world of fast-paced information, adapting to this new landscape hand-in-hand with the trendiest marketing and communication tools.
Corporate news is no longer just for journalists; the general public has direct access to press releases through Google and other wire services. Therefore, to stand out and attract the attention of both journalists and potential clients, you need to focus on writing and distributing a clear and personalized press release.
These are our six compelling arguments for why a press release hasn’t lost any of its usefulness or relevance in today’s world.
1. Establish relationships with the media
When looking for branded content, 71% of journalists say they choose press releases as their primary source of information. A well-written and relevant press release shows that your business is both proactive and doing its research.
A good press release does two things:
- It shows people why your news story – whether it’s a growing team, a new funding round, a new product, or anything else – is worth reading
- To answer the classic questions of curiosity: who, what, where, when, and why?
If we want to get journalists’ attention, we must be relevant and responsive and make sure our messages get across quickly. This will build trust over time with journalists, they will be more open to you, and, most importantly, you’ll get that media coverage.
2. It gains credibility.
An effective press release is usually considered a reliable source of information, so regular PR activity helps to gain credibility and trust with journalists, as well as existing and potential clients.
A press release creates a sense of professionalism and knowledge. The world’s most-known brands view press releases as a way of reaching their relevant journalists – and, therefore, target audience – to share regular updates. They work along other marketing strategies to ensure that messaging is kept consistent and ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.
Being a credible source in a specific industry is worth its weight in gold. Not only does this help to establish a market where advice thought leadership can be offered, but key players can be seen as experts, resulting in a better relationship with relevant journalists and media outlets.
3. Improve SEO and generate traffic
It is important that we try to apply different SEO practices and techniques to our press releases. In fact, search engine algorithms allow information to be indexed, ranked and positioned online according to its relevance. A press release with a good backlink profile will get published on the first page of Google, redirecting traffic to your website.
Whilst all publications are different – and print coverage being something else entirely – it’s becoming more and more common for backlinks to be included in coverage. Depending on the editorial guidelines of the outlet, they offer a good way to track lead generation, seeing exactly where generating coverage is the most effective.
Journalists continue to recognise how these backlinks serve a crucial purpose and companies today depend on them to have that competitive edge. It’s also important to remember that this isn’t always the case. Press releases still need to be newsworthy and have relevant information to be useful.
In terms of SEO for the publications themselves, they too will be looking at how their sites can boost engagement and traffic. Take a look at the publications industry, examine what topics will likely be covered and create a press release around that. You can leverage press releases to your advantage and guarantee to earn coverage.
4. Create engagement
Most companies use the same proven social media and branded channels to communicate with their customers. Distributing a press release, if well-written, can help you rank high in search engines, grab the attention of potential customers and generate engagement through social media sharing.
Press releases can be a way to reach other audiences you hadn’t thought of before.
Therefore, a press release can be promoted on social channels for optimum reach.
Good PR uses alternative multimedia elements such as photos, videos, or infographics to add value and provide multiple ways for audiences to engage with the content.
5. Create a “portfolio” of content
Content is king; the more consistent our editorial line is, the more search engines will recognize our brand as a trusted source.
Press releases are factual and data-driven – we don’t like fake news – so every piece of information can be turned into new content. We should extend the life cycle of our PR activity by turning it into a blog post, infographic, social media post, or (if you have the time and sufficient coffee) even a white paper.
It’s a quick and effective way to create content, and other communication makes the information more accessible to new audiences. Agency professionals will know how PR efforts can be multi-faceted – most press releases can be used several times over.
6. Generate media coverage
We’ve already said it several times, but a press release’s goal is to secure coverage.
When coverage is secured, all the things we’ve listed above come with it. Within this coverage, vital key messages and pertinent information will build brand awareness, generate sales leads and give brands leverage over their competitors.
Press releases boost visibility by securing coverage within target media – this is something we like to call “earned media”. As opposed to anything that is paid for, it’s more valuable and effective. Audiences view news coverage as a trusted source as it’s been “gate-keeped” by the media outlet and journalists.
Getting coverage is considered an art form, but executed properly, it will show just how effective press releases can be.
We could go on and on about why press releases are effective, but we’ve broken it down into six sizeable and digestible reasons. Writing press releases can take time but they are extremely worth it, especially when the coverage starts to roll in.
Of course, there are instances when a press release might not be the best way to share news, but it’s typically the first port of call.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to make help your press releases pop.