The Death of the Press Release Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Two young women smile while looking at a smartphone screen together.

The press release is passé. It’s lost its mojo. Social media and corporate blogs have stolen its thunder. Or so some claim, especially after companies like Tesla redirect their PR efforts elsewhere, reserving press releases for its investor relations community. 

The rise of owned media may have affected how organizations use press releases, but it certainly didn’t replace their impact. And while developing press releases may seem archaic to some, they remain vital to any PR strategy. Here are a few reasons why.

Builds Industry Awareness and Helps You Connect With New Audiences

Press releases are an effective vehicle to build widespread awareness around critical company milestones — ranging from acquisitions and new products to funding, senior team additions, and more. 

Data also shows journalists want press releases about newsworthy topics. According to Cision’s 2021 State of the Media report, reporters cite press releases as the most useful resource for getting stories and 78% of journalists say they want to hear from brands using this medium. What’s key is not to release news indiscriminately. Your internal or agency PR team can provide counsel around what news warrants a release and what doesn't. 

While social media has made messaging more efficient, a short social post can’t compare with the value of a press release that tells a complete story and lives forever on a wire service or in a company press room. Likewise, a corporate blog often doesn’t have the daily following needed to stand alone as the sole medium for a high profile launch. An added benefit of publishing a press release on the wire is that it reaches a broader audience who might not already follow your blog or social media handles. 

Besides organic social, paid social, email marketing, and other outreach efforts, press releases with inbound links also act as a vehicle to drive eyeballs back to the source of company messaging.

It’s “Not Your Father’s Press Release” Anymore

Just because the press release isn’t dead doesn’t mean it has to look and feel like press releases from a decade ago. Let your company’s voice shine through in your press releases and educate your audience about exciting changes and innovations that are occurring in your business through creative storytelling.  

For instance, take the case of a recent Ally Bank press release. Ally Bank is the largest all-digital bank in the United States. Knowing babies who are born now may be the first generation of consumers who will conceivably never visit a physical bank branch, Tier One worked with Ally to create a campaign that offered all babies born on December 31, 2020 a $250 custodial savings account to give them a head start for their financial futures. In lieu of a traditional press release to announce this campaign, Tier One created an “open letter to babies” that described the campaign and created an emotional response from readers.

Consider how photos, videos and infographics can strengthen your story, too. Not only do multimedia press releases see higher engagement rates, according to Cision’s data, customers and the media are more likely to share multimedia via social platforms than text-only releases.

Still feeling stuck about how to avoid having your releases look like they’re straight out of “Template Central”? Cision posts a regular blog series spotlighting its choices for the “five most impressive” press releases of the month, looking at various elements, like images or CTAs, that best exemplify that approach. Check it out if you need creative inspiration or best practices. 

The press release alone shouldn’t replace owned media announcement strategies, but it adds to your communications program by improving overall brand awareness and thought leadership. Now here’s your chance to let your story break through the noise.

We’d love to learn more about your communications needs and challenges. You can see more about how Tier One helps companies find the right PR strategy for their business goals here:

What we do: Communication

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