With the increase of social media, data-driven storytelling, and the 24/7 news cycle, the press release has evolved while remaining a relevant part of your marketing strategy.
How people communicate around the world has changed drastically in the last decade. Social media, blogging, influencers, and television have created a world of 24/7 news consumption. So it would be easy to write off the press release as an archaic marketing strategy, but that would be a mistake.
Like everything in life, the press release has evolved within the online world of marketing and public relations. According to Cision’s 2019 Global State of the Media report, 65% of journalists believe audience metrics have changed the way they evaluate stories. Journalists continue to look to PR professionals for content specific to their audience, and this relationship has only become more valuable.
In addition to journalists, consumers have direct access to press releases through online distributors. The key to standing out to both journalists and consumers is to focus on distributing a well-written press release that clearly promotes something significant and specific.
These five reasons show the press release is very much alive and beneficial to any marketing strategy.
- Establish a relationship with the media. Journalists find themselves with fewer resources than ever, and their partnership with PR professionals is a valued resource. When looking for content from brands, 71% of journalists look to press releases and news announcements as their primary source.
A well-written, relevant press release shows you’re proactive and have done your research. Media professionals don't have time to sift through hundreds of irrelevant pitches and press releases that have nothing to do with their niche. And, yes, a pitch and a press release are different.
Think of a pitch as a teaser to pique a journalist’s interest. Provide just enough information about what’s going on with your brand to grab their attention. Pitches work well for product updates or to introduce an employee as a media expert to be used for quotes. Keep it short, preferably in a bullet list, and send via email.
On the other hand, a press release is a factual account of something newsworthy. Your press release needs to provide the full story, including the who, what, where, when, and why. Always remember to include why your news matters, if you want to get the attention of journalists. Press releases work well for personnel announcements, new openings, and product launches. Writing a clear, concise press release goes a long way and will help you establish a trusted relationship with journalists.
Remember, the media need timely, relevant pitches. They need information before the news happens- not after or during- so make sure to have information ready for a quick turn-around.
Over time journalists will be reaching out to you for a story idea or expert quote.
- Business Credibility. The media and consumers view press releases as a trusted source of data and information. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brand’s We Trust, an eight-country study, shows the majority of consumers across multiple demographics say brand trust is essential to buying.
Consistently distributing accurate press releases allows you to build credibility over time with journalists as well as existing and potential customers. It is especially useful for start-ups and growing small businesses to get positive word out about themselves.
With an in-house writer, you control your brand’s voice, message, and perception. In addition to publicizing important company information, the press release can be used to mitigate an internal crisis or negative external press. By providing credible facts without spin, you can clarify internal conflict to reestablish a positive brand image and public perception.
- Build SEO traffic. A well-written press release utilizing SEO best practices for search algorithms allows search engines to find, match, index, and rank your press release. With 63,000 searches per second, having a high-ranking press release on Google and other search engines provides enhanced exposure to current and future customers. Releases posting on PRNewswire.com see 2x the page views as the nearest competitor.
Search algorithms are looking for well-written content that naturally incorporates keywords and links, so make sure to focus on using natural language and providing high-quality links in your press releases. Proper keyword usage, quality links, and consistent distribution allow you to develop authority in an industry.
Google and other search engines are looking for and ranking content from authoritative sources. So, post a variety of content, including press releases, often to establish your brand’s expertise.
- Customer Engagement. Once only reaching journalists, now, through online news distributors and the rise in social media, consumers have direct access to your press release online.
Most companies utilize the same tried and true social sites and brand channels to communicate with customers. Distributing a well-crafted press release provides the opportunity to rank high in search, catch the attention of current and potential customers, and leads to direct engagement and sharing on social channels. You have the opportunity to reach an untapped audience that you may never have considered before.
While you’re at it, directly promote your press release on your social media channels with multimedia. Customers and the media are more likely to share multimedia via social platforms than text-only.
According to Hootsuite, tweets with video get 10x more engagement, which includes likes, retweets, and comments. So, make sure to include multimedia, such as photos, videos, and infographics that add value to your press release and increase engagement with consumers and the media.
- Build a Content Portfolio. Content is king, and you need to be continually creating relevant, timely content that journalists and customers are engaging with to stay connected. The more consistent you are with posting content, the more likely your brand will rank higher in search.
A press release doesn't have to stand alone. Press releases are fact-based and include data, so let each fact become a new piece of content. Expand its lifecycle by repurposing it as a blog post, an infographic, a social post, or expand into an ebook or whitepaper.
Repurposing a press release is a quick, cost-efficient way to create new content. For example, turning a press release into a blog article utilizes much less time than researching and writing an entirely new piece. You’re providing the same information, but by communicating it differently, you make it more accessible to new audiences.
While the media industry has evolved drastically over the past decade, the press release hasn’t become obsolete. It merely has evolved along with marketing and communication tools. Content is king, and relevancy is essential. So, give the people what they want — customized press releases with the end consumer in mind.
If you are interested in more of what journalists want from PR professionals, read the full Cision 2019 Global State of the Media Report.
About Maureen Beard
Maureen Beard is a Senior Content Specialist with Cision PR Newswire. She works with PR professionals to create relevant and engaging multimedia-rich press releases. With over a decade of content marketing experience, she counsels on SEO and content writing best practices.
Always seeking opportunities to travel and explore new cultures and destinations, Maureen has contributed articles to Thrive Global and World Nomads.