Webmasters and some marketers doubt that the press release is still an effective marketing tool for businesses. A few experts predicted its premature death. Is it still valuable in the modern PR campaign?
Written by Dorothy Piamonte
So far, releases have evolved and served as an effective tool for businesses in the last several years. From getting the attention of the press to earn media coverage and being a benefit for search engine optimization (SEO). And today releases still serve as a tool to gain publicity. But what about the future?
The Press Release Today
We can’t really predict the future of releases, but to give you some insight, let’s go through their position today. There are two sides to the story. Some experts believe that it is dying while others see it is still a useful tool in PR.
The Positive Story
Although it is deemed to be old-fashioned, it is still valuable in the modern PR. As people consume their news on different channels like the television, the Internet, and the radio, releases are still great communication and marketing tactic. However, not all releases are effective. Only newsworthy news get the attention of the press. Releases are a handy tool for sharing newsworthy updates about your products or event. Another great news is that journalists still use it when looking for story ideas to write. Those who are running out of time to verify details or are in a rush to write a story while beating the deadline still refer to it. Here are the reasons why releases remain effective for some people: It is an excellent tool to get coverage. There’s a flood of information on the Internet today. It can be tricky for the media to choose the news that stands out, with television, radio, social media, and the internet. With this flood of information, journalists may also feel overwhelmed. However, a release makes it easy for them to pick the right one. Although they receive almost a hundred of pitches every day, it is quick for them to make a decision which one to choose. A well-written release that is newsworthy and relevant and follows the standard format can easily get their attention. Sending a copy to them directly is a professional way to reach out to them. They love this strategy which is personalized to them. It makes their job easier as they can just browse through the pile of emails they receive to choose the most relevant that matches their beat.
A single release can be sent out to different sites, locations, and journalists. It can even reach people you never thought you could through the social media. If you use a press release distribution site, your message is sent to different aggregators. Once sent, it reaches tens of thousands of media who can be exposed to your news. The chance to earn media coverage is higher.
- It helps your SEO. A few years back, releases got a bad reputation after some companies used them for Black Hat SEO. However, when done right, a release that is optimized with the right keyword can still land you a good place in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It can make your content visible on top of the searches. Just make sure to choose the most relevant keywords that your audience is using to find content.
- It helps build your brand. Releases are still good if you want to earn authority and credibility in your niche. Well-written content published on different sites, your website and on your social media accounts, can help show that you are a well-respected brand. If your goal is to strengthen your brand, it is a great way to make this happen. Produce great content that warrants publicity.
- It helps manage your reputation. If your brand is involved in a controversy or legalities, issuing a release is still effective to set the record straight. By acknowledging your involvement and taking actions if needed, you are showing your audiences that you are a reputable brand. Issuing it to announce that you are taking actions for the problem is a great way to protect your reputation. It is a great tool to present facts. Quotes are useful for journalists who are directly pulling quotations from releases.
- It is evolving. Today’s releases are evolving according to the changing needs of the audience. One reason why it is still effective is it is incorporated with multimedia like images, infographics, videos, and other elements. With these elements, it becomes more relevant to them. Content with video or images gets more reads and shares than content with no visual elements. One reason why releases are still effective today is that they are flexible.
- It helps build your online image. There are many ways your audiences can interact with you. A release is an excellent way to build and shape your image online. Why? A release is written in a factual way, where people can learn your stance and insights. People can view you what you want them to see you since you can control the message in a release. It is a great tool that can help you manage your online presence where it can be so quick and easy for anyone to just write anything about your brand.
- It can be re-purposed. Releases don’t die after they are published. They can be turned into a blog, a social media post, an article and more. After you earn publicity, publish your release on your own site, blog and social media accounts to replicate its effect and make it last longer.
The Negative Story
Several experts argue about the effectiveness of releases as a PR tactic. In a study conducted and published by Shift Communications in 2016, it was reported that releases don’t work anymore. In 2016, there were a total of 136, 356 releases generated that converts to 1, 092 per day. The result revealed that median content metrics that gave an insight into its effectiveness. The median MozTrust score (how trusted a URL is, 0-10 scale) is 0. The median MozRank score (how well ranked a URL is, 0-10 scale) is 0. The median number of clicks is 0. The median number of inbound links to releases is 1. The median number of social media shares: is 2. The site reported that no one is clicking on releases anymore and no one is sharing it either. It claimed that since Google has changed its algorithm, releases don’t have an SEO value anymore. A release is seen ineffective to gain SEO authority since Google devalued the content a few years back. Moreover, in terms of cost, it is costly for companies to spend $200 to $1,200 per release if it doesn’t engage the target audience and doesn’t provide SEO value. The same study suggested not to issue it anymore because there is no logical reason to do it. First, no one is reading it, second, no audience engages, and the third reason is that it provides no search marketing benefit at all. It revealed that investing in the strategy is a waste of money because a company doesn’t get any return-on-investment (ROI). Rather than investing in it, they should invest in writing original content, social media content or syndication.
Releases are valued useful by the majority of businesses. You can check services like Newswire for distribution services. Releases are valuable for building a brand’s credibility because they are viewed as trusted sources of information when announcing big changes and developments in a company. When your news gets published on top newswires, your brand awareness is improved. Furthermore, a release is rich in information. Perhaps, there is no other content available to everyone that gives this complete of information. It offers a boilerplate that tells significant details about the brand. It promotes the message of the brand, and what it is up to. You’ll not find any content as relevant and concise as this that offers this kind of information. Issuing a release provides a great impact on your brand. Well-written content can provide you with media opportunities and other developments. You can be offered a collaboration, more sales and an influx of site traffic. Since you control the message in a release, it is a great way to provide the audience with a message on how you want to be perceived. If you want to be seen as an expert or authority, it is easy to accomplish this through this type of content. No one can predict the future of releases. However, if you continue to write engaging and informative pieces, they will be valuable.