With so many new means of communication, issuing a press release could make your organisation seem a tad old fashioned – nowadays the word is it’s basically redundant.
However, I’m not convinced.
Working last week with a client making a major announcement, every newsdesk they contacted asked the media team to email over a press release.
At the end of the day the reporter or producer wants to see something in writing which tells them the nub of the story before they make a decision on whether to run with it – and they need the key facts and background information in black and white to help them produce a decent and factually correct story.
The fact remains that the press release is a very direct form of conveying information to a large number of people quickly and simply, whatever other means you also use to communicate.
It’s still used by political parties and government departments, major organisations and global phenomena such as Apple and Google, surely a signal that it still has value.
Firstly a press release doesn’t need an opt in.
To receive it, no-one has to follow you, become a fan, search on Google, check out your website or subscribe to your newsletter.
You decide who receives your news and when. You are in control.
This has two advantages:
- If, like our client, there are newspapers that you don’t like, you don’t have to send it to them
- You don’t necessarily need a personal relationship – or a social media relationship – with the media on the receiving end of your news. They can receive it whether they know you or not. Though of course, this isn’t an excuse to neglect building up contacts in the media. Reporters or producers who know you and trust you are far more likely to take notice when you send them stories.
And secondly, that sharing your press release on social media and adding it to your website is an important factor in improving your SEO.
There is some very important final points to make, whether you use a press release, email, Twitter, a Facebook update or produce a video news release to deliver your story:
- Make sure it is presented in a way that captures the media’s attention
- Give it a catchy headline
- The most interesting point should be the ‘top line’, in the first paragraph
- Answer the all important questions Who, What, Where, When and How.
- And most importantly, write simply, clearly and well.
What do you think? Do you still use press releases? Do you find them effective? Or are other means of communicating news now more successful?