The digitization of media and the newsroom has left little room for print media to make its mark in the cumbersome modernization of our daily lives. Today, around 5% of Americans make use of print media. On the other hand, research revealed that more than half of Americans, about 52%, use digital platforms as their preferred method of getting the news.
The New York Times has become a household name in America and much across the world. In 2020, the publication revealed that weekday print circulation has steadily been decreasing over the last decade. Reports indicated that weekday print circulation for 2010 peaked at around 906,000 copies, in 2020, that number was only 374,000.
The negative news about the demise of print media might have left PR firms scattering to look for new and innovative ways to intercept the market.
The rapid change of media and public relations has led to a booming billion-dollar industry.
So while PR professionals and digital marketers have been looking for different ways to offer their clients. The press release remained a source of somewhat credible news for the readers.
The readership might’ve declined, but press releases remain a valuable source of breaking news. Whether it be global events, or perhaps a new startup launching their new product or service – a press release, to some extent, is still relevant.
Advantages of a Press Release
Print just went digital. Although this might not be the case for many print publications that weren’t able to outlive the global pandemic throughout 2020. Various print media publications have made a gradual shift towards digital platforms and apps.
Thus, press releases should still be relevant, shouldn’t they? For one, press releases work to contribute to better media coverage. On the other hand, a well-written press release gives better news announcements and is an effective marketing strategy.
Work Well for SEO
PR staff and a reporter might think of a press release as tedious for building better SEO. In fact, press releases have worked relatively well to generate better backlinks for clients and businesses.
Some startups make use of a press release to distribute news about an exciting new product or feature. On the other hand, this form of journalistic material can actually be used to share valuable breaking news.
But public relations teams have become smarter. More and more are using press releases as a way to “newsjack” a certain story. SEO manages to still find its way into the mix.
The more a news platform or publication shares and talks about a company or concept, the quicker it spreads and increases SEO.
Journalists Love Them
Contrary to popular belief, journalists still enjoy writing a press release. Why? For starters, press releases aren’t too difficult to craft together. Most of the time journalists will use the information available to them to whip together a well-informed piece.
Sometimes, most of the information is already given to them by a specific client or PR team.
On the other hand, journalists do receive some form of compensation for their work. Media influencers or anyone enjoys receiving free stuff. This is a PR tactic professionals use to draw in new journalists and establish a credible relationship.
Pay attention to those websites and reporters making use of stories, and media as tools to help increase communications between readers and a company.
Journalists have found it somewhat beneficial to distribute a written release for SEO purposes.
Grow Brand Identity
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
Press releases can be a great way for companies to build brand awareness, both in written and digital format. News today is old news tomorrow. Although this may be true, companies who are looking to intercept a new or different market can make use of press releases to do so.
Startups with limited resources and funding can distribute a press release before their initial launch. Once established, startups usually publish about two to three additional releases to create hype and media coverage around their product, service, or platform.
Luckily, it’s still considered breaking news, for now. So it’s become a way to build interest and announce a message about the company.
Remember newsjacking? It works perfectly for distributing identity. When a company newsjacking a certain story, making use of a successful press release can be the perfect opportunity for PR teams to approach the situation from a creative angle.
Disadvantages of a Press Release
There is a downside to all of this. A press release is still somewhat considered less important when building a marketing plan. Some PR firms, or marketers will never even make use of press releases in their campaigns. And for good reason.
The problem for PR teams and press working to publish press releases on the internet is mainly concerned about nofollow counting by search engine giant, Google. Technology has ultimately changed the business of writing a good release for a reporter. It’s still a way for them to get to the point of important information.
In simple terms, nofollow links are an HTML attribute that is directly attached to a link. This link indicates to search engines, like Google, whether it is trustworthy or not. In most cases, nofollow links are not trusted.
Tech and software engineers were smart and designed it to help combat blog spam, and as it will not help boost rankings or SEO. It would later become an essential part of advertising, allowing Google to track which links are not user-friendly, or credible.
The search engine giant commented on the change of the links back in 2019, claiming:
“All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC, and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search.
We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.”
Back in 2019, businesses were scrambling to find new ways to generate backlinks to client websites and blogs. But, unfortunately, this has remained apparent, and nofollow links will still influence the ranking and overall SEO of the business.
Yes, there was a time when startups could use press releases to directly link back to their website. But changes in the way Google and other search engines monitor links have severely changed since then.
PR firms and teams, just like Google, are looking to intercept traffic with quality links. Ad part of an improved communication strategy to reach the intended target audience.
The SEO community and digital marketing industry have become a minefield for small and startup businesses. It’s ever so challenging to tread across the internet, as industry tactics have for long been secured by PR firms and professionals.
Are Press Releases Still Effective?
Yes, to some extent. Press releases should be considered as sources of breaking news containing useful information. Businesses using a press release to inform the market about a new product or service should do so purposefully.
There are different concepts and PR tactics that can help improve the credibility of a press release. News coverage is still one of the main reasons releases have remained relevant.
Are Press Releases Obsolete?
Short answer? For print media, perhaps. Online press are still publishing hundreds of press releases each day. From cooking, technology, finance, or investments, if it’s newsworthy it’ll work in the digital age. Whether it’s breaking news about a catastrophic event, or perhaps journalists covering a news story, they can still be considered as viable.
We might see a slow decline in press releases in the near future. But this would be more entailed to how search engine optimization and rankings will change. For now, press releases are still here to stay and help to create a better example of identity for businesses and startups.
Are Press Releases Reliable?
Depending on the type of news, and the source, a press release can be considered reliable. It’s a subjective question that is strongly related to the reader and its source.
Overall, most written press releases share important information regarding certain events, products, and services. It’s still one of the many tools used by a reporter or PR team to share announcements or data.
Ultimately, a press release is still considered reliable when sharing information about political matters. Helping journalists write and distribute breaking and pressing news that will need to reach readers immediately.
As a rule, readers should always consider their news sources, as some may be deemed trustworthy or credible. This is only possible through reviewing resources, journalists, and the quality of content being shared by the news publication.
Why Are Press Releases Important?
To share and communicate pressing information to a large audience immediately. Press releases are used daily to share a message with readers that they may deem extremely important.
The importance of the press release will mainly depend on the type of information it’s sharing. A press release about a new car, won’t necessarily interest a politician. Just as new foreign policies won’t interest someone researching house remodeling ideas.
Millions of press releases are published every day, and the importance of these will only depend on the reader’s interest.
Today, the landscape of print media and publication has changed when looking back ten years. It might seem as if print media will still see its final demise within our generation. Press releases have for long been a way to share important and relevant information to a large readership.
Companies and startups have found endless success in using press releases as a form of official statement. More so, press releases are also considered important for helping to communicate new services or products. Ultimately, helping build better online traffic and high quality links.
But the game has changed, and PR firms should adapt accordingly in order to stay ahead of the fast-changing trends. There are various ways in which marketers and PR teams can go about helping build a better image of a company and its offerings. It simply depends on the skill and knowledge of those leading the campaign.
Finally, press releases are still considered viable, and credible sources of information for many readers, whether it’s printed or on digital devices. The aim of the game is to get a message across via newsworthy channels and share a message that will have both journalists and readers intrigued. Overall, the press release is here to stay until proven completely insolvent.