There has been a lot of debate over whether the good old fashion press release is passé. Head of digital communications and social media for the Coca-Cola Company, Ashley Brown, has stated that he “is on a mission to kill the press release.” What the company did instead, is created a branded online magazine, Coca-Cola Journey, where the brand shares its media content, new developments, and different campaigns. He discussed focusing more on generating shareable content to allow the consumers to do the talking for them, instead of journalists and traditional media outlets. Dan Lyons, ex-editor at Newsweek and current Marketing Fellow at Boston-based inbound marketing agency, Hubspot, discussed his frustration with press releases. “I’d glance through the subject lines and then zap them all.”
However, Pew Research’s annual “State of the Media Report” points to a different future for the press release. According to the poll, Americans trust press releases more than articles written by the CEO, blog posts, and advertisements. Perhaps this alludes to the fact that there is a time and place for a traditional press release. It is not a “this size fits all” public relations outreach strategy. The press release is a great way to share the details of a new product or launch, over a 140 character tweet or viral video. However, a press release should never stand-alone. Michael Celiceo, a director at Sparkpr, an agency in San Francisco, says press releases are only “one component of a transmedia storytelling effort.” There are other communications effort that should be rolled out in conjunction with a company’s press release. Tiffany Guarnaccia, founder of New York City’s Kite and Hill PR explains in PRWeek that the press release can serve as a blue print for your future communication efforts. She explains that it can serve as a reference tool and established credibility, it increases your SEO power, and it also can jumpstart social media efforts if a hashtag is included in the release.
The press release seems to not be dying, but instead its role has been altered, as it mimics the ever-changing digital landscape of public relations. It is not obsolete. It is still vital to your communications strategy when it is not the ONLY strategy. Long live the press release.