Anyone who has been in business for a while knows that public relations has changed dramatically. Gone are the days when journalists decide what news gets out to the masses, when companies talk at their customers and audiences instead of engaging with them. In the last decade plus, digital technology has completely disrupted the media industry—and with it, the way that companies market and promote themselves.
Once upon a time, companies relied heavily on press releases to convince newspaper and television journalists to tell their story. But in today’s digital media world, companies can tell their own stories—interacting with their stakeholders on social media or starting conversations on their own blogs.
So, are press releases worthwhile still?
When clients ask me this, my response is that it depends. On what? The answers to these questions:
- Do you want to share news, such as the receipt of an award, a big new contract, or new investor funding?
- Do you want to announce something, such as the appointment of a new leader at your company or a new product or business line?
- Are you also using other forms of content marketing to nurture your stakeholder relationships?
- Are you emulating your company’s messaging in your press releases?
- Are press releases one of several tools in your marketing/digital marketing toolbox?
Five yeses? Then press releases make sense for you. This medium can do great things for your company, after all. Press releases build credibility among your customers by sharing your successes and how you’re achieving your company’s mission. They create a steady stream of news that can grab the attention of the media and news sites in your industry, and if you’re writing them 21st-century style, they’ll engage readers too, providing a call to action that drives readers to your blog or website.
Press releases are alive and well, but like all forms of marketing and communications, they have certainly evolved (out of necessity). And yes, they serve a valuable purpose! Here are three reasons I’m a fan of the press release:
They provide the facts.
When written well, press releases offer information about your company that media and your customers can reference. And just as important, press releases are a good way to establish a continuous channel of news about your company’s progress and momentum, which builds trust and helps the media quickly identify a story angle.
You get to set the record straight.
Let’s face it: social media brings your customers to the forefront, and your interactions with them can influence public perception of your brand. There are many benefits to this, but it does mean that you no longer control what’s being said about you. The press release is your chance to share exactly the information you want to share, and if necessary, to manage your reputation.
You can boost your search engine optimization (SEO).
Keyword-rich content (but not too much!) can help your press releases rank better in search engines, drawing the right kinds of visitors to your website. And when you integrate SEO into your consistent efforts to create great content on important topics in your industry, you’ll raise your social significance too.
As you must do with any type of communication you produce, the key to an awesome press release is to understand your audience and engage them with relevant content that matters to them. When used as a part of an overall marketing strategy that includes the creation of other content that your audience wants to discuss and share, press releases can get you attention, validate your business for multiple audiences, and benefit your business tremendously.
Need help writing press releases or other content? Let’s talk!