The 411 on press releases: The media landscape is changing, so are releases

Press releases have been the golden standard for news dissemination in PR for decades, but as the media landscape changes, so do the methods for distributing your message. Do these changes signal the death of the press release? Not entirely, press releases continue to be one of the most widely used branding and credibility tools. However, these changes do signal that press releases need to be taken seriously as valuable communication tools. Here I share my tips for an effective press release strategy:

Who cares?

The first thing you should consider prior to drafting a release is whether the news is actually newsworthy. Your CEO or client might think that any company announcement or product release will garner press, but PR professionals know to use press releases sparingly and strategically.

I mean, who really cares?

Days of recognition are when journalists truly get bombarded with releases. Sure, sending a release announcing the launch of a new margarita flavor for national margarita day is apt, but trying to peddle a product for International Women’s Day can read as tone deaf. Really think about whether a release is warranted and try to be careful of commoditizing important days of recognition on behalf of a client.

What’s the TL;DR (too long, didn’t read)?

Journalists and bloggers receive a myriad of press releases and pitches daily. The best way to get press is to include all of the relevant and important information in the first paragraph. It’s likely that the people receiving the release will skim the first paragraph and then move on. Make sure the information included is engaging from the get go.

Do I know you?

Don’t just blind copy your contacts into a generic release email. Reach out to the editors or journalists you’d really like to build relationships with. Take the time to ensure their beat matches the subject of your release, write a quick note about a recent article they wrote which ties to the release or comment on a recent article and then include the release.

Ditch the wire!

News wires are expensive and outdated. They can be of great use for select releases or news, but for the most part it’s best to send the release yourself. This also feeds into the previous point: the more you reach out organically, the more you will establish genuine relationships.

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