You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

writing press release April 22, 2018

Here’s a question I see A LOT in the public relations industry. “Are press releases still necessary?”

Now, if you follow me, you’ll know I’m a fan of press releases. My first guest post ever was for PR Daily on this very subject (Enough with the death of the press release already). So, when I hear talk of their demise, I always feel as if it’s coming from someone who’s just tired of writing press releases.

While I DO believe in the value of press releases and reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you don’t always need to write one whenever you have news to announce, as my recent piece for Muck Rack discusses.

But, even if you don’t really need one, it can be valuable to write one anyway. What do I mean? Let me give you an example.

I recently began working with a client who’d already earned some media coverage and wondered if they still “needed” a press release to officially announce their project.

While I explained that they don’t need one, I told them they might want one. Why?

The process of writing a press release forces you to think about what’s important. The exercise itself helps you organize your thoughts. What key messages really matter? It helps you to focus and call out the information you most want the audience to walk away with.

And, the press release is written in a brand’s own words, versus stories in the media, so it allows the company control over the messaging.

It also demonstrates that the brand is making strides. If journalists or others are looking for background on a company, they’ll check its site. If you post your press releases there, anyone can tell at a glance what the company’s accomplished. Visitors will see a history and feel the momentum, as in, “This brand is making announcements, it’s going places.” There’s nothing worse than visiting a company’s site and seeing they haven’t made an announcement in three years. (And, unfortunately, this happens more often than you may think.)

Once the press release is drafted, it can serve as a document from which you pull information to feed other efforts. You may find yourself referring to the press release to grab a sound bite for other marketing purposes. Need a few key messages to drop into an email or marketing piece? The press release is the perfect place to find those. Need to create some social media posts for a particular campaign? Use some details from the press release.

Once you’ve written it, what else can you do with a press release?

Here are five ways you can plug it into your marketing and PR efforts:

  • Pitch it to the media: If it’s relevant, you can always send it to local reporters or industry publications.
  • Post it on social media: Of course, it’s always a good idea to share your press release on social media. Write a brief post and include a link to the release on your site.
  • Share it via a newswire service: There are paid newswire services (like PRWeb and PR Newswire), and then there are free ones (like PR.com or PRLog.com). PRWeb is reasonably priced, if you have “bigger” news you want to share widely.

If you don’t want to spend the money on a wire service, the free ones can work to get it on the search engines. PR.com, in particular, seems to work well for this.

  • Share it internally: Make sure everyone within the company knows about the news. They may even choose to share it via their own social media channels. Or, they may be able to use it in some way in their day-to-day role (such as the sales team who might share it with customers).
  • Share it in your newsletter: If you have a newsletter (and you probably should, if you don’t), share the news there, too. Companies are also looking for material to include, and a press release contains information that would be ideal for this.

Of course, don’t forget the visuals to go along with the press release, which is becoming increasingly important in a world of decreasing attention spans.

The bottom line is that press releases are not dead. Even when you don’t need one, it can still be useful to write one. It’s a multi-use tool that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for small businesses or startups that need to stretch their marketing dollars as far as they can.

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2 responses to “You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway”

  1. Gillian says:

    How do I write a press release about an education seminar? May I please see a sample of a press release along these lines. Thank you

  2. michellemessengergarrett says:

    Hi Gillian,

    Here’s an example of one I wrote for a workshop:
    For Immediate Release Media Contact: Michelle Garrett
    Garrett Public Relations
    614-315-4037
    michelle@michellegarrett.com

    Central Ohio Professional Education Council (COPEC) Partnering with Better Business Bureau®, the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Wesleyan University Announce COPEC University

    Wide Range of Classes Offered at Community Event Oct. 11, 2014

    COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 3, 2014 – Today, the Central Ohio Professional Education Council (COPEC), Better Business Bureau serving Central Ohio (BBB®), the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Wesleyan University announced their next COPEC University event, which will be held on October 11, 2014 at Indiana Wesleyan University in Hilliard. COPEC University is a day-long event filled with workshops on a range of topics to educate and enlighten attendees.
    An educational workshop series that connects the public with local experts, COPEC University topics include: healthcare reform, social media training, health and wellness, estate planning, caring for family, financial planning, business marketing, taxes, and more.
    “COPEC University is the only opportunity for central Ohioans to hear many expert speakers present on a variety of topics relevant to both personal and professional interests, all in one day,” said James Lindner, president and co-founder, COPEC. “Our speakers are industry professionals on a mission to educate – not sell. Presentations are given in an informational format, making this a perfect opportunity to learn more about how to grow your business, plan for your future, care for loved ones and more.”
    “I attended a half-day series of classes at COPEC University and was extremely impressed with the variety and quality of classes offered,” said Johnathan Greentree. “The topics were relevant, the instructors experienced and well prepared, and overall, it was a positive learning experience. I heartily recommend COPEC University and look forward to attending the next series of classes.”
    More than 30 workshops will take place concurrently throughout the day, spanning from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with special tracks for retirees, caregivers, business owners and more. Breakfast, lunch and beverages are included in the cost to attend, which is $25. To learn more or to register, visit http://www.copeceducation.org/university/.
    COPEC University is FREE for all active-duty military, reservists, military dependents and all honorably discharged veterans. Upon registration, please use discount CODE: USVeteran. Proof of service must be shown upon arrival the day of the event for entry.

    About COPEC
    Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, COPEC is a non-profit (501C3 tax exempt) organization that offers a variety of educational opportunities for individuals in the local community to achieve greater knowledge on issues involving many disciplines. This outreach is generally attained by partnering with local companies, churches, associations and organizations by providing workshops and seminars to their employees, members and volunteers. All COPEC programs are presented by local volunteer experts and are provided with the goal of overall education without the influence of individual company marketing or sales presentations. For more information, visit http://www.copeceducation.org.
    About BBB
    For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Central Ohio Better Business Bureau serves Columbus and 21 surrounding counties as the leader in advancing marketplace trust. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.
    About the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce
    Providing valuable business connections, advocacy and benefits to its members, the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce has been the resource for businesses in our area for over 41 years. Members have gained valuable professional development opportunities and value added programming. A number of money saving benefits provide businesses with more resources to invest back into their companies. Businesses active in a chamber of commerce are more likely for consumers to think favorably of it and purchase goods or services from the company in the future. The Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to be the leader for businesses in our area. For more information, visit http://www.hilliardchamber.org

    About Indiana Wesleyan University
    Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship and leadership. For more information, visit http://www.indwes.edu.

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