Press releases are an integral part of public relations. That is never going to go away, despite the current meme in the blogosphere that press releases should disappear. While Shel Holtz has a great post that the press release is not going to go away, and Kevin Dugan has a tongue-in-cheek response on how to replace press releases, the fact is that the press release is a great tool for public relations.
Like anything else in PR, you need a strategy. Business is strategic, and public relations should be strategic. This means you don’t have to send out a press release every time you win a new customer, but maybe you can put together a quarterly press release annoucing new customers. If you are a restaurant, there’s no need to put out a press release for every new menu item, unless there are wholesale changes. Instead of a press release, a simple email to key contacts would have the same benefit.
A good example of the overuse of press releases is Go Daddy. In the past two weeks, five press releases were released. That’s alot, and makes me wonder what the strategy is. Why not spread the news out every other week? Or, why not combine certain releases together? It’s particularly interesting when a reporter notes that it’s overkill.
That’s what you have to think about when you are putting together a press release: is this newsworthy? Can this be combined with other news to make it more pertinent and newsworthy? Is this really a press release, or just an email to key media contacts?
Don’t ever think that a press release replaces proactive media outreach. Press releases are merely just one tool in the bag of tricks that PR uses to get the message out.