After I saw yet another blog post titled, “Is the press release dead?” I decided to look at more than 50 trade journal articles and blogs from credible and expert resources. I wanted to see what was said in 2014 about the health of the PR practitioners’ most venerable tool.
The press release–also called a news release–is defined by the Free Dictionary as “an announcement of an event, performance, or other newsworthy item that is issued to the press.” It is often used as the primary tool for enticing media coverage; it’s sent to reporters, editors and producers to pitch a client’s story. The argument from some PR pundits has been that there’s no longer a need for the release in light of social media, because there are countless ways to get your story to the public.
But is the release dead? Clinton Colmenares proclaimed in apiarycommunications.com‘s site, “The press release is dead. Or it should be. Press releases are proclamations. Retire that prospective.” Robert Kravitz of Altura Solutions wrote, “I am finding them less and less effective. Many tech companies have stopped (sending press releases) entirely.”
On the other hand, Michelle Garrett wrote in prdaily.com, “I work with editors who actually request press releases…It’s a format they find useful.” And in a 2014 survey by TEKGROUP, 74% of 171 news consumers and creators said they make use of press releases when following, sharing, or posting news and information. Valentine Smith concluded in business2community.com, “Reports of the press release’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Of the 52 articles I reviewed, only seven authors believed the press release is dead, 33 said it’s alive and 12 think it’s “evolving.” After more than 30 years in PR, I believe press releases are still thriving, serving to move compelling stories to the media by using words economically and effectively through traditional and social media platforms. Clearly those of us teaching and using press releases are not only utilizing a time-honored, sturdy old tool of the trade–we practitioners are re-shaping the release for an ever-changing world of media content. Your thoughts?