October 10

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Does the Press Release Still Matter?

Today’s news media landscape is more fragmented than ever, with digital and mobile content expanding rapidly. This fragmentation makes it more demanding for PR pros to get their clients’ stories in front of target journalists. And while most PR pros understand the importance of creating great pitches and having them go through an editorial process before sending them out, many struggles with creating effective press releases that get results.

 After all, when you have only a few seconds to capture the attention of a journalist — or a Google search engine crawler —it’s not enough to get your message across; you need to do it in a way that compels them to read on or click on. But how can you make sure your press release isn’t falling on deaf ears?

A recent study by the American Press Institute found that journalists are more likely to read press releases from their industry than from other sources. So if you want your press release to get noticed, you need to make sure it’s short and sweet and tells a compelling story that will prompt reporters to read beyond the two-sentence minimum required by their newsrooms.

 With the rise of ad blockers and the ever-increasing number of content channels, it can be hard to reach your audience with paid advertising. But press releases are still a great way to get your message out to the people who want to read it.

Do you know what the first thing a journalist does when they read a press release is? They scan for the headline — and the opening. If they don’t see your key message in the first sentence, they’ll move on to the next release in their inbox.

 For example, let’s say you’re a B2B marketing consultant and want to get some coverage for your new white paper. You could write a press release like this: “New Report Reveals How Marketers Can Increase Their Revenue by 20% by Re-Evaluating Their Business Model.” But is that headline-grabbing enough? Is it compelling enough to stop a busy journalist in their tracks? Probably not. 

But let’s try again: “Marketers Are Leaving $1 Billion on the Table Every Year — Here’s How to Start Collecting It.” Now we’re getting somewhere. If a journalist is looking for a new story idea, this headline and opening sentence will interest them.

If you’re in the PR business, you already know that tracking media coverage is integral to your job. But let’s be honest: It can be hard to follow who covered you and how often customers mentioned you. And while some PR teams use Excel spreadsheets to track their coverage, most PR pros use media tracking software. And while there are a lot of great media tracking tools out there, one of the simplest ways to track your press releases is to add a bit of tracking code to the bottom of your press release and set up a new tracking campaign in your PR software.

Let’s face it: Not everyone who reads your press release will click on your link. And not everyone who clicks on your link will click through again. And not everyone who clicks again will buy from you. But that doesn’t mean a press release is worthless.

 A well-written press release can be a fantastic lead-generation tool. Media coverage can help you attract new leads, and a press release is one of the easiest ways to harness that power. If your press release has a call to action, it’s not just about getting more coverage but also more leads.

A well-written press release can help you gain credibility, establish links, and reach your target audience — all while generating leads. No matter how fragmented your news media landscape becomes, press releases will always be one of the best ways to get your story in front of your target audience. And while they may seem old-fashioned or outdated, press releases will always remain a powerful tool for PR pros who know how to use them. The good news is that you can leverage them with a little knowledge and creativity. Reach out to us with any questions- always happy to assist. 

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