Brands have traditionally used the press release as a reliable way to get their stories picked up by mainstream media. That, however, is changing. Thanks to the different digital channels we can use to reach audiences and influencers, the ability to self-publish and the decline of print media readership, the traditional press release is threatened.
The increasing number of online influencers, such as bloggers and even the newsmakers themselves, are who people are turning towards to get their news. Finding ways to connect brands with their audience through these channels has changed how we approach public relations.
As people – especially younger demographics – look to social media to get their news information in bite-sized chunks, the who, what, when, where and why elements of a story are often being stripped down to a series of bullet points and links aimed to give these info snackers the basic information as quickly as possible.
The social media press release was developed as a multi-media tool that satisfies digital outlets with the bite-sized information readers want, as well as providing pertinent quotes, links and additional content for publishers who want to further develop the story
But there is still a sizable audience for a good news story. News organizations (newspapers, TV newscasts, newswire) remain the overwhelming choice of readers for their news – even if they are going online to read. There is still a demonstrated desire among readers to go beyond the bullet points and delve deeper into a story.
That’s what still makes the traditional press release a valuable piece of any content marketing strategy. Maybe not a central piece, but still valuable.
The origin of the modern press release dates back to 1906 and its purpose has been to provide the media with well-written announcements newsworthy enough to publish. That has not changed.
The difference between a traditional press release and a social media press release is the presentation. A traditional press release is usually a story that contains the basics and can be run verbatim if necessary. The social media press release, on the other hand, may actually have more information, but it requires time and manpower to craft that information into a narrative that will appeal to people who still like to read and not just scan.
Journalists don’t have that kind of development time.
The precipitous decline of the newsroom workforce leaves the survivors with more work to do and less time to do it. Chasing hard news stories is still a priority and that requires time for reporters and editors to cultivate sources, follow leads, do research and write.
Many online publishers, such as bloggers or trade magazines, are also short-staffed. A traditional press release that comes from trusted sources may run verbatim because it saves publishers time and fills up space, whether that be in the various sections of a newspaper or for an online site that requires constantly changing content.
Remember, even in this era of `fake news,’ we still have news sources we trust. A Pew Research Center study of the modern news consumer showed the majority of people still turn to trusted news sites for their information.
As editors sift through a pile of PR releases every day, a good press release can get you to the top of that pile. Savvy PR writers and marketing agencies can take advantage of the opportunity to get their clients into print and online news sites – and in front of their audience – with a well-crafted press release.