Here’s a question I get often.
“Are press releases still necessary?”
I’m a fan of press releases.
And while I DO believe in the value of press releases and reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you don’t always need to write one whenever you have something to announce.
But, even if you don’t really need one, it can be valuable to write one anyway.
The process of writing a press release forces you to think about what’s important. The exercise itself helps you organize your thoughts. What key messages really matter? It helps you to focus and call out the information you most want the audience to walk away with.
And, the press release is written in a brand’s own words, versus stories in the media, so it allows the company control over the messaging.
It also demonstrates that the brand is making strides. If journalists or others are looking for background on a company, they’ll check its site. If you post your press releases there, anyone can tell at a glance what the company’s accomplished. Visitors will see a history and feel the momentum, as in, “This brand is making announcements, it’s going places.” There’s nothing worse than visiting a company’s site and seeing they haven’t made an announcement in three years. (And, unfortunately, this happens more often than you may think.)
Once the press release is drafted, it can serve as a document from which you pull information to feed other efforts. You may find yourself referring to the press release to grab a sound bite for other marketing purposes. Need a few key messages to drop into an email or marketing piece? The press release is the perfect place to find those. Need to create some social media posts for a particular campaign? Use some details from the press release.
Once you’ve written it, what else can you do with a press release?
If you don’t want to spend the money on a wire service, the free ones can work to get it on the search engines. PR.com, in particular, seems to work well for this.
Of course, don’t forget to add in some visuals to go along with your press release, which has become increasingly important in a world of decreasing attention spans.
The bottom line is that press releases are not dead. Even when you don’t need one, it can still be useful to write one. It’s a tool that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for small businesses or startups that need to stretch their marketing dollars as far as they can.