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Does the press release belong in the modern PR toolkit?

By Julie Miller

48757755_sPR helps you find the best way to distribute company news

Discussion about whether the press release is still relevant has been floating around the public relations community for several years now. Five years ago, a Forbes reporter called it “worthless.” If the press release was worthless five years ago, that’d make it a dinosaur today.

But, for many, the press/news release remains a critical tool in the PR practitioner’s toolbox. So, is it dead or not?

Instead of thinking about the press release as dead, communicators need to understand that the old way of doing PR is dead. What do I mean by the old way?

The old way consisted of relying solely on press releases to tell your story to the media. The old way included faxing press releases to news desks and editors. The old way included spray-and-pray email blasts with press releases attached to them.

The new way

The news release is one of many tools

In the new way of doing PR, the news release remains a tool, but it’s one of many tools. When you have something to announce, the go-to shouldn’t be a news release every time. Maybe a video statement will help convey your message better.

When you do have a news release, it should be distributed through other tools in your toolkit. If you’re using a news release to email to media contacts, make sure you also post it on social media and within your website. Journalists have multiple ways to get news today, and social media is certainly one of them. Sharing a link to a news release makes it easy for journalists to get all of the updates in one place, as opposed to scanning through several posts or scouring your website.

Newsworthy updates only, please

News releases should contain real news. They should not contain softer story ideas. When journalists open your news release that contains no real news value, they’ll become annoyed. So how, instead, do you share story ideas that are a little more, shall I say, warm and fuzzy? Try direct email outreach with a tailored message to the journalist or editor. This shows that you thought specifically of that outlet. It shows that you aren’t just blasting the same release out to everyone and hoping someone picks it up.

Get to the point

Whether it’s in a news release or email pitch, get to the point quickly. Journalists report getting hundreds of emails and news releases a day. If you don’t catch their attention quickly, your message will be quickly deleted.

Trust the professionals

In the old way of doing PR, someone who could write a good press release and use a fax machine was sufficient. But today, successful PR requires that practitioners understand the proper tools for distributing news, whether it’s a blog, video, Twitter or email. Lucky for you, Axia Public Relations has a great team to guide you. If you are interested in learning the best way to connect with journalists and increase your company’s visibility, download Axia PR’s  guide Learn Media Relations from the Media today.

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Julie Miller

Julie Miller is marketing and communications professional, working for more than seven years in the industry. She has primarily worked in the technology and education sectors, and specializes in digital marketing and communications.

Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, news release

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