We are asked, frequently, about the reported demise of the press release. In some people’s minds, the traditional press release has gone the way of the Fax Machine. We disagree. We believe that the press release is still a useful public relations tool. The problem isn’t that the press release has outlived its usefulness, but rather, some organizations have abused its purpose.
Press releases are an efficient way to blast information about your firm to the broadest audience possible, and an easy way for journalists to find out what is happening at your company. Here we address a few arguments against the traditional release.
- Social media is sufficient to get our news out. The reality is that not all journalists use social media, or access it throughout the day. Meanwhile, your clients and investors may be prohibited from accessing social media at the workplace.
- Press releases are expensive. There are cost-effective ways to distribute your release over the primary wire services for hundreds of dollars, not thousands. Asking your sales rep the right questions may yield national coverage on the newswires for a better price.
- No one reads press releases anymore. Not true. People searching for information about your firm will read the release. Reporters read RELEVENT press releases, which bring us to...
- Press releases are useless. Press releases are useful as a delivery mechanism, it’s the content that sometimes isn’t. Load a release with marketing-heavy pitches or too much jargon, then it will be worthless.
And all the reasons to send out a release? Mark a milestone and show progress at the organization. Drive traffic to your website and keep the media section of your site fresh. Reach reporters, they still use them and are familiar with their structure as a convenient way to find news, sources and ideas. Ensure your company appears in search engine results for key words including your company name and industry, important for reporters and potential clients. Expand your online exposure as press releases reach wider distribution than putting information on your site alone, including sections of news sites that exist simply to republish releases verbatim.
This is obvious to some, but we need to say it: Press releases should contain news. Use press releases sparingly and don’t paper the world. Know what events are relevant and noteworthy. Know when to communicate that news and how best to do it. The best way often is still the press release.
MFD Communications LLC is a New York-based strategic communications consulting firm specializing in key message development and media training with a customized approach. MFD was founded in 2011 based on the premise that broad business and financial services knowledge brings much-needed expertise to the process of crafting a distinct and clear story. At the same time, the firm has extensive and relevant experience preparing executives to present to external and internal audiences, handle press interviews and prepare for critical business pitches. This allows MFD to find the sweet spot where the client's need to communicate the right message and the audience's demand for compelling content intersect. For more information, please visit www.mfdcommunications.com.