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Are press releases still relevant in 2021, and, if so, should you write one?
In 2020, I was often asked by clients, “are press releases still relevant”, or, “should I write a press release”? I have no doubt that these same questions will prove pertinent in 2021 as well, thus, I thought I’d share my answers publicly.
Q: Are Press Releases still relevant?
Q: Should you write a press release?
A: It depends.
Vague? Yes, but stick with me. Let’s backtrack real fast and start with the basics.
What is a Press Release?
A press release is an official statement issued to the media providing information on a particular subject matter. The two primary goals of a press release, in short, are to a) control the narrative and b) have said statement or news picked up by the media and shared with the public.
Press releases are typically crafted by publicists, PR firms, or an in-house company representative familiar with media relations, and distributed electronically either via email, company website, or a public wire service such as PRWeb or Businesswire.
Outlining essential news information – specifically, the who, what, where, when, how, and why – press releases are expected to follow a condensed and concise format while simultaneously piquing the interest of target publications and audiences.
So, what is it…
Are Press Releases Still Relevant or Not?
Yes, they are still relevant.
Proof? Well, if they weren’t, why do countless companies spend thousands of dollars on press release wire services?
Because many journalists still scan the wire daily.
Because publishing on a paid wire guarantees at least some form of syndication.
Because press releases can result in third-party coverage.
Because press releases can still result in positive SEO.
Further proof? Thousands of press releases are published daily – from small mom-and-pop shops to the world’s leading Fortune 500s.
Now, while they may be relevant, do they always result in desired coverage? Unfortunately no, no they do not.
So, Should You Write a Press Release?
It depends on your company, your PR strategy, and your ultimate objective. The main argument for not writing a press release may be that for your company specifically, time would be better spent exerting effort elsewhere.
Press releases work great for large companies that already have a substantial media following. Prime examples? Apple, Tesla, Pottery Barn, etc. These are all influential brands that the media already have proof that audiences care to read about, thus journalists pay close attention to any and all company news. For these industry giants, issuing a press release is an efficient and effective means of controlling the narrative and guaranteeing news gets released to the masses.
Now, a smaller lesser-known company, on-the-other-hand, may have a harder time getting a press release picked up. Why? Point blank, the media don’t know about them yet, and they may not be convinced the public cares to know their news. In this scenario, a press release serves more like an impersonal and formal blog post if the publishing company doesn’t understand how to then utilize the release strategically in outbound media pitching.
This is where my “it depends” answer comes from. Whether you should or should not write a press release depends on, as I mentioned above, your company, your PR strategy, and your ultimate objective. All in all, there are many factors that play into what is and is not considered strategic, most of which require true objectiveness.