We’ve lost count at StoryLab over how many times the demise of this key communications tool has been declared ended, certified, bagged and tagged. Yet they survive. Why?
You’d think with ever-shrinking media leading to fewer journalists and eyeballs on stories, there would be a much smaller appetite for press releases. But these short dispatches remain a key tool (and we stress they are just ONE tool in your comms and PR armoury) in the quest to reach audiences of journalists and editors.
The good news is that journalists still look at – and need – press releases. The slightly bad news is these days they give just seconds of their time to see if they are of any use. That’s because hacks are insanely busy these days with fewer resources – and time – than ever before and lots of press releases they get are absolute duds. Many contain stifling amounts of jargon, corporate pomposity and grandiose quotes that nobody in a million years would dare to utter aloud, let alone use in a media story. Press releases just have to be better and you’ve got to work hard to make them have a use. You’ve got to know what journalists want and get straight to the point.
That’s where we try to help. As experienced former journalists running busy national media newsdesks, we help clients to avoid the pitfalls. We help to tease out the facts and newslines that journalists will want to mention and we make sure releases genuinely have something newsy to say. Press releases are still extraordinarily impactful for all sorts of news, such as the announcement of growth plans or new hires or revealing highlights of a study or report.
You’ve just got to know how pull the story from the mass of material and present it in the way that the media wants it. Done right, the results can help businesses make real noise. So, press releases are still powerful and proven vehicles for good stories.
Don’t believe the claims of their demise: they continue to give great value as part of a broader communications plan.