Press On

“Master the topic, the message, and the delivery.” – Steve Jobs

News moves at the speed of light today. There’s a car crash; you hear about it immediately. Your favorite band is comin to town; you hear about it immediately. Kim Kardashian goes for ice cream; you hear about it immediately. You get the picture. News is instantaneous. There’s less of a need in today’s day in age for the once beloved and frequently used press release as there was in the past, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let us guide you on how to continue to use the press release to the best of your company’s ability.  

It’s reported that the first ever news release was sent over 100 years ago. On October 28, 1906, a West Jersey and Seashore Railroad electric train fell off a swing bridge in Atlantic City, New Jersey, drowning 53 people. This accident is now known as the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck. It’s also known for resulting in what is regarded as the first ever press release being sent to the media. When the accident occurred, PR expert Ivy Lee worked closely with the Pennsylvania Railroad and convinced them to present a statement to journalists at the scene of the accident. Just two days later, the New York Times would print that statement word for word in their October 30, 1906 edition of the paper. This gave way to the magical world of press releases. 

Since that fateful day in 1906, hundreds of thousands of press releases have been sent by businesses and printed by the media. There wasn’t a product release, event, or newsworthy topic that wasn’t being made into a press release and sent out. The press release went from being the product of a tragic accident, to being an intracle piece of any marketing campaign. Over the last decade, however, many have noticed the rapid decline in results from press releases. They aren’t producing the way they used to, and the reason for that is simple: journalism is a dying art. 

In 1990, there were 57,000 journalists employed all across the United States who were feverishly looking to catch the next great story. This was crucial to the press release process. If your company was able to produce a compelling press release, you had a decent shot at getting some kind of media coverage. The press release was easily weaving itself into the daily landscape of PR and journalism, even as media began to change. That, however, didn’t last long. 

Fast forward 33 years and the number of working journalists in the United States has been cut in half, while the number of communications and PR professionals is rising steadily. Nowadays it seems that all roads lead back to platforms such as Meta and Google. Tech giants such as these have captured a large portion of the advertising market which is leading to the closure and consolidation of many media companies. 

The question remains: how do businesses combat the narrative that press releases are dead? Unfortunately there is no black and white answer here, but there are a few easy tips to help you and your business stay up to date on how to best utilize the press release in 2023.

Tips for a Successful Press Release

1. Tell Your Story & Tell It Well

The only way your story gets printed is if the journalist it was sent to connects with it. Make them connect with it. Tell your story in a way that grabs their attention and will connect with them and will also show them why the audience will care.

2. Show What You Mean

If there is a way to include a photo, video, infographic, etc. in your press release, do it! That only makes your story more compelling to the journalist.

3. Pitch, Please

Never send a press release out into the wild without a compelling pitch. Yes, the story should speak for itself, but let’s be honest, it won’t, so you have to sell it, and sell it well. 

4. The Dreaded Follow Up

Even the best of the best releases can get lost in the shuffle, so don’t be afraid to follow up. We know it’s no one’s favorite thing to do, but hey, if it gets your story out there, then it was worth it. 

Since 1906, companies have been sending press releases out into the world in hopes of getting their news broadcasted to the masses. There’s a reason this style of marketing has been around for 117 years, and that’s simple: it’s because it works. Even in 2023 when the news is at our fingertips every moment of every day, there’s still a place for the press release, and we’re here to help them stand out.

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