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Are the glory days of press releases behind us now?

As SEO gathers more and more traction in the digital marketing arena, questions resonate around more than before when it comes to press releases. Are press releases dead? Are we past the heyday of a once oh-so-great marketing tool? Is it a platform worth investing anymore?

To answer the question in the simplest of terms, NO. Press releases are not dead. Much like a phoenix that is reborn in a show of fire and ashes, the market foresaw press releases going out of fashion and instead gave it a new makeover, one that would help it fly in the 21st century, amid growing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 

However, post-2009 would not be the first period wherein press releases were considered pretty much irrelevant. In the olden days, before the internet was even a word, press releases were meant for the press (newspapers, as the name would imply). In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, as the internet started taking over, press releases were, for the first time, left for dead. But, instead of them getting the ‘obsolete boot’, they were remodeled to work in sync with the internet. And now, the same process has been repeated to keep press releases from losing their relevance. 

What are press releases though?

A press release is basically a detailed piece of news that is used to disseminate information to the general public. Topics ranging from a product launch to legal matters are all advertised using press releases. As such, they are considered pretty cost-efficient when it comes to social media marketing campaigns of a press release. They also offer a barrage of different features that can further help boost the spread of the campaign and bundle in analytics-based response gauging mechanisms that can help you evaluate your consumer response and further act on it accordingly. Offering a complete marketing package all at an extremely competitive price, it's no wonder press releases still stick around to this day and are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down or inching towards irrelevance or obscurity. 

So, press releases aren’t dead. But where can I see one?

True, press releases have been repurposed more than once, just to keep them alive and relevant. It started out as a newspaper marketing device, got rebadged as a public relations gimmick and as of the latest, is now reserved for SEO practices and digital marketing. Safe to say, press releases are not dead and will continue shape-shifting until the final coffin nail hits. Until then, you can utilise these devices as a cost-efficient method of promoting products and simply getting news to the consumer. 

Still as relevant as ever, press releases now carry the same function but the platforms have changed wildly. The format has been retained pretty much its whole life; but now, instead of rooting for one in a newspaper, they can now be found on the internet along with a catchy headline, a product tagline and its signature bulk of information pertaining to the product or event it is supposed to be advertising. SEO and digital marketing websites and other press release distribution platforms routinely employ press releases as their go-to marketing solution; one that gives you the most for the least. Beats a big dollar marketing campaign that eventually fails to reel in potential customers.

How did the press release avoid extinction…

Simply by keeping up and evolving. Today’s press releases are handled by SEO and digital marketing experts, yesteryear’s releases were handled by journalists. Needless to say, it’s come a long way and has still managed to remain relevant. That is a feat in its own right. But more so, it did so by getting creative, providing customizable services and catering to a wide variety of clientele and an even wider ambit of niches. It adapted, went online and started digital marketing. That’s a life tip if you ask me.

…and how can you bank on that.

The rules that kept the press release alive are the same rules that apply to you if you want to market via press releases. Creativity and networking. In the marketing skyline that is dominated by media and social advertising, it is crucial for press release marketing to be at the top of its game to stay alive. Creativity is the name of the game and press release marketing capitalises on that. Market your services, your news or products through PR platforms to get the most bang for your buck.

How press releases work

Press releases work in two ways,

  1. Digital media spread
  2. Press release in black and white

Digital press release marketing: This method is what the newest iteration of press releases is all about. PR went online because marketing turned into digital marketing. It simply refers to the use of the internet, social media platforms and search engines to promote news, products or services. Cost-effective services utilise the good things on the internet to make sure your press release is seen by everyone in the segment that you’ve identified as suitable and then use tools like Google News and RSS Feeds to make sure that the internet is awash with your press release, increasing its visibility and reach to the people.

Press releases in black and white:  No, black and white does not mean on TV’s that make CRT look like Star Trek. It means the printing press. Yes, you read it right. Press releases are still relevant in newspapers and the fact that press releases are incredibly resilient should further build your trust on press release marketing. This method is still around due to the common dearth of news items that occurs every now and then. It becomes necessary for journalists then to fill in the gaps using news that is ready to be published, which is none other than a good press release. This can further benefit a press release’s reach and creates backlinks with a media house, ensuring the next time the news pipeline goes dry, your press release is in its convenient place, ready to be published as a news item in a newspaper.