Why the Press Release is Alive and Well

I just read, RIP, the Press Release (1906 – 2010)—and Long Live the Tweet, in which Simon Dumenco discusses why he feels the press release has been replaced by tweets. The article is especially timely since I have two press releases to write today. Perhaps in the celebrity world press releases should be retired. After all, I don’t need to read 300 words on a celebrity’s recent escapades if it can be shared in 180 characters. But, I definitely don’t think the press release is dead for the rest of the world; here’s why:

Regulatory filings: Let’s get this one out of the way. It’s a gimme. As long as it is required for public companies to publish a press release about regulatory filings, press releases will continue to exist.

Reporters and the media: Yes, reporters and bloggers have turned to Twitter to find stories and sources, but they still want a single document with the facts.

Information seekers: Looking at site traffic, people still go to newsrooms looking for information about the company and to read press releases. If people are looking for it, then there must still be some value.

SEO and organic search: Posting a press release on a website adds content to the site, which is crawled by the search engines. This can help with search rankings. Additionally, distributing press releases on a wire, such as PRNewswire, can lend to externally sites linking back to your site, which helps a lot for SEO. If you’re looking for more information on SEO, check out Integrating Public Relations with SEO Strategies by Sarah Skerik of PRNewswire. The article has great tips for how to optimize your content, including press releases, to help with rankings.

While the press release isn’t going away, it is changing. It’s shorter (or should be). There is less space for and time spent on crafting perfect quotes for executives. Overall, I’d say that press releases are evolving with a continued focus on clear, concise writing with a focus on getting the facts out.

Has your company moved away from press releases? Do you still use them? How would you like to see them change?

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