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News Releases are Alive and Well

Stop the presses! The news release is not dead.

I keep reading articles and blog posts that the press release or more appropriately named the new release is dead. It’s in retirement, archaic. I would contest that these practitioners are not involved in media relations on a daily basis, and that this assumption is simply the case of the story announcing a premature death.

I’ve placed numerous stories over the last month and the communication vehicle used was the good old fashioned news release. Sure, one might argue how to better optimize a release for social media, how to strengthen it for search optimization, or how to enhance its usability by adding in more media, but you cannot argue that there’s no purpose for the news release.

If in doubt, try reaching out to a press member about a new product announcement or a new executive appointment, and you’ll likely get the response, “Do you have a release you can send over?”

You can also make the case that content is thriving along with other forms of communication strategies but this is not a zero sum game. There’s room for it all and multiple tactics should be deployed and used as appropriate.

The news release is still of great importance. Some people prefer to listen to podcasts. Some people prefer to view video. And some people like to read news releases. Those “people” could be reporters looking for stories on news: products, hires, customers or partners, office space and much more. Perhaps someone is doing due diligence on a major business decision and wants to read over news material posted over the years.

Consider this, if an editor says, “send me over the release,” would these people argue, “sorry, the news release is dead and we don’t write them any longer?’”

News releases are also valuable communiqués to share information to audiences on social media or to include for sales and marketing. Posting news releases on Google+ and other sites with appropriate keywords and links helps with search and traffic back to the company site.

The point is that PR is a multi-faceted business profession that requires many strategies, one being media relations. Working with media requires executives to connect and customize information for editors and reporters based on their needs and requests. PR is also about building relationships, and there’s value for stakeholders or even potential new stakeholders to see a company on the move with lots of activity.

I’ve had executives in the past comment about a company whose Website has been static in time, not even including news releases to show activity by stating: “Is that company still in business? I went to their site and couldn’t tell. There hasn’t been anything posted for some time.”

There’s still lots of utility for the news release. And if you don’t think so just ask a reporter or a visitor at your Website.


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