We have spoken about how the media has evolved in the past year – Covid-19 has both accelerated some changes to industry practices and redefined others, giving journalists even less time and space to create. But what does this mean for PR and marketing tactics? The press release has been PR bread and butter since Noah built the ark, or at least since he told the newspapers he was building it, so does it still have a place in today’s fast-paced world?
Journalists receive hundreds if not thousands of press releases every week, so it is inconceivable to believe they read every one. This may call into question whether it is worth spending time crafting a press release or whether there is another way to engage media in your story. Short pitch emails or phone calls successfully secure media interest, but we also firmly believe press releases should remain part of the PR toolkit, just not as the only tactic.
It ensures everyone is on the same page
There are often multiple stakeholders that want a say in how news is released and messaged. A press release provides one central document that can be viewed and signed off by all parties. It also enables supporting web pages and social media accounts to be included and the right spokespeople to be properly referenced – having all the facts in one place is useful and can really help when a journalist is up against deadlines.
It helps build existing relationships
To stand out in a journalist’s inbox, we often condense stories into a couple of sentences that appeal to their specific interests, attaching a press release so they can look at the bigger story if helpful. When journalists get to know and appreciate that you will provide them with interesting stories and accurate information, they often request to be added to press release distribution lists.
It can increase coverage results
Working as smaller and tighter editorial teams with a focus on content generation, regional and trade publications are more likely to run press releases as full articles. If they are carefully written and have a strong headline, a press release can be quickly adapted, so it is fit for publication. It’s a win for everyone as these titles get quality written content and brands get more exposure.
It can be passed on
Stories can be easily passed between journalists and content writers before being written up. The beauty of a press release is that your messaging remains consistent, with all key information and weblinks to hand for the write up. This also applies to wider marketing activity, once you have a press release written and approved, it can easily be shared with partners, stakeholders and internal teams for promotion.
It can be shared easily
Publishing a press release online gives your business website updated content and can offer SEO benefits, it also makes it easier to share with journalists and influencers via social media. Increasingly, we reach out to journalists on Twitter or LinkedIn, which can be more informal and achieve an immediate response. From a media distribution perspective, a press release enables us to send out information to a huge range of press efficiently at the same time, which is hugely important for time-sensitive news.
In the same way that a CV is not a job application, a press release is not a story. It is a tried and tested method of communication and is still widely accepted (and expected) by journalists when it comes to announcements. Tailoring your approach for specific media contacts still yields the best coverage results, but the press release certainly remains relevant for at least a while longer.
Discuss your next PR campaign with Caroline Walker by email or call 01732 779 087