I’m so confused, I thought the press release was dead?
28 October 2014, Blog
This time last year, the Government’s executive director of comms, Alex Aiken, dramatically declared that the press release was dead. It made for a great headline and caused a bit of angst for many PR professionals, particularly those working in his government departments.
The debate has raged all year amongst fellow PROs as to whether he was right or not, but the truth is, a year later, the press release is still alive and kicking. These are my five reasons why I think it still has a role to play:
1. It gives credibility
Written correctly – In the third person, delivering a clear, positive message about your new product or service – it makes for a credible read, far more so than a paid-for piece of advertising or self-promoting tweet. At the very least, it will be a good starting point for a journalist, giving them a gentle nudge to write about your company.
2. It provides consistency
It’s not just a document to email to the media, it can be used everywhere, ensuring a consistent message across all your communications channels. You can put it on the news page of your website, send it to your key stakeholders, and use it to populate your newsletters, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages.
3. It shows progress
A regular campaign of press releases gives the appearance of a business that is growing. Announcing a new member of staff one month, a new customer the next, investment in equipment after that, or a win at the annual trade awards, is a simple demonstration that your company is going from strength to strength.
4. It gives the good news
A press release isn’t the only way of delivering the positive, but it should be one of the ways. In a mediasphere full of bad news, journalists still look to the press release for their good news pages
5. Simplicity works
Sometimes, a simple release is all a potential customer needs to see. There is so much junk spamming our inboxes and filling our heads every day, from cluttered e-bulletins to busy pdf brochures, and e-surveys and event invites that require further website interaction. A straightforward one-sided press release outlining the facts can be the best way to cut through the chaff and get your message read.
So what Aiken perhaps should have said is that the traditional press release isn’t exactly dead, it’s just not the only way of doing things. Infographics, tweeting, viral video campaigns and pitching exclusive features are all alternatives that, depending on the message, may be a better way of reaching your audience.
A leading PR agency should offer you a strategic campaign that uses the best tools to deliver your message. And sometimes, one of those tools will inevitably be the good old press release.