“The press release is obsolete,” they said. “It’s lived its useful life. It’s dead.”
I can’t recall how many times I’ve read about the death of the press release in the past year. Yet, I’ve always believed in press releases to help companies get the word out. And today, I have a client story to support the fact that press releases DO work!!
Here’s the story:
I work with a local entrepreneur who’s developed a patented product in the bedding category. We’ve been working together for a couple of years now, and I’ve watched the progression of the product and the company to where it is today.
We’ve selectively issued a few press releases throughout the course of our working relationship. About two months ago, we issued a release to announce they’d launched an ecommerce site. Up to this point in time, we’ve done mostly local media outreach, with plans to go more national/vertical in the coming months. So, just a few days ago, a leading _national_ publication proactively contacted me after finding the press release to request a sample be sent for consideration to be in an upcoming story. What?!?! Yes, it REALLY happened! And, to go one step further, the reporter contacted me via the press release service we used. And, it was a (gasp!) a FREE press release service!
This proves a few points that I often mention in the talks I give about PR:
1) Press releases DO work to reach the media. Reporters like press releases because they’re written in a format they’re familiar with. Releases are written in inverted pyramid style, which is the way news stories are written. They contain the pertinent information reporters need to cover a story. In many cases, PR practitioners and reporters both attend journalism school, so this is a medium we both know and understand.
2) You don’t have to spend money to issue a press release on a wire service. The free services get the word out, too, and get you on search engines to help your SEO (search engine optimization). Undoubtedly, the reporter at the national publication found our press release while doing research for a story she was putting together.
3) While you should proactively reach out to the media you’re targeting (and yes, you should figure out who you want to target), just issuing the press release does get it out there and allows it to be found, should a reporter be searching.
4) The above two points underscore the need to work in your keywords, so in the event a reporter is searching, he or she finds your press release.
Given, the product hasn’t yet appeared in the magazine (just imagine the celebration, if that happens!), but this is already a “win” in so many ways:
- It’s a win for the client, whose product is being seen by a high-level press and may appear in an upcoming issue of a top magazine
- It’s a win for me, because I worked with the client and wrote the press release
- It’s a win for PR because look at the power of what it can do, and
- It’s a win for our friend, the lowly press release, who some have too quickly deemed obsolete.
It’s OK, press release—we know you’re not dead. We believe in you and your power to help us get the news out!