There are myriad opinions about press releases. Are they dead? Are they only to make the CEO – and his mother – proud? Are they self-serving and lacking in any real news value? Are they only good for SEO and digital link backs to the company websites? Are we just keeping PR Newswire and PR Web in business (those people need jobs too…)?
While many continue to debate the merits and validity of our longstanding PR staple there are a few good reasons not to bury the press release just yet. Unless you’re looking for cheap wool socks, the first thing you might do when you visit a company’s website, whether you’re an investor, prospect, job candidate, or customer is head straight to the newsroom, even before you click on the product page. Why? You want to see the company’s news timeline.
If the last release was written six months or a year ago it creates a perception. Perhaps the company is stalled, losing money, has no new products in the pipeline. Or it has reduced the marketing staff down to a coordinator; again not a good sign. Press releases indicate the health, the vitality and viability of the company. You also want to see what disinterested third parties have reported because of your news release. The mere presence of the press release timeline influences interested parties.
While it may be true that the long narrative style of press releases, interminably reviewed by executives, may be dwindling they are still a marker for company progress.
It acts as the official statement of an organization.
It provides content for some media outlets that are short-staffed.
Another writer Elizabeth Mitchell believes the press release still has its place but warns PR pros to only send them to people who would find it relevant, don’t trade clarity for pithy – get to the point, and lose the jargon.
The next obvious question? Are press tours a thing of the past… they are for me!