Is the press release still relevant? The answer is: It depends. This isn’t a cop-out answer, but a reflection of how the communications business is changing. As that happens, so the humble press release is also evolving.
In terms of its classic function – as a mechanism for conveying information from vendor to journalist – then producing just a press release and putting it on your website isn’t generally the surefire way to generate a mountain of media interest or coverage*.
Nor will paying for a newswire to put ‘lipstick on a pig’ when you have a non-starter announcement such as a strategic alliance or an executive appointment. (Looking for proof? Choose your favorite newswire and search for the phrase “strategic alliance”.)
A great future – as the standard format for vendors sharing news
As part of a bigger PR process, the press release definitely has a great future. The press release format has evolved into the standard format for vendors wanting to communicate news to different stakeholders. The press release format is suitable for all social media channels as well as communications with investors, customers, partners, prospects, employees and analysts.
Today, press releases are arguably read by a wider audience than ever. Sales reps use them to engage with customers. Partners help cement their relationships, but should not give in to the temptation of the dreaded joint press release/analyst briefing. News often reaches employees via press release faster than internal channels. Investors pick them up from the wires and industry analysts receive them via Google alerts, if they’ve not already been shared by AR teams.
Therefore, although the press release as a mechanism for communicating news to the media might be starting to show signs of its age, reports of its death are exaggerated.
* Unless you’re a megacorp, or it’s big news like a merger or acquisition.