DEBUNKED: Press Release Myths and Truths
By Lottie Hutchins, Account Manager
The press release – is it dead? One of the age-old questions of the PR industry. I argue, no, it isn’t. But, bad press release strategy, ideas and delivery does need to die a death. In today’s blog, we look at a couple of myths and truths that surround the press release.
Press releases still have a place in PR – Truth!
Absolutely, press releases still have a place in PR today. It’s a core tactic of what we do. Sure, what it looks like and how it’s written may change over time – in a couple years we may be sending them out telepathically, who knows – but the sentiment of the press release remains.
Certain press releases do not have a place in PR, however. There are questions to ask yourself to determine whether the specific news you want to put out is right: What are the impacts or benefits? Who does the news affect or benefit? Why is this news important? And finally, what is new? Like actually new, as in brand new information for people to get excited about.
If you can’t answer these questions convincingly, then it will likely be the case that this press release will not be widely covered by the media. But if you’re still not sure then at the end of the day, just ask an expert (us)! We can tell you straight if your news is news, and help you to craft the story so it will be of interest to the press.
Journalists hate press releases – Myth!
Journalists don’t hate press releases, no! They often find press releases very useful and great sources of information. What they do hate are press releases that don’t say or mean anything of real importance. They don’t want to be covering something that’s already a month out of date, overly self-serving or an announcement that is obviously a rush job… They want well thought out, informative stories that cover real insights and trends, which relate to their readers.
So, no. Journalists do not hate press releases, but they may hate you (and us) if the news we send them is not right.
Press releases are good for SEO – Yes and no…
A key association for press releases is search engine optimisation, or SEO. More often than not, press releases are stuffed with keywords, anchor text and links that help to drive Google search rankings. However, a few years back Google caught on to this search hack and will now penalise you for it. For this reason, it is utterly useless to consider the press release a SEO-only tool, especially when flooding it with buzzwords and jargon will only hold you back.
Instead, the role of the press release needs to be about brand awareness, publicity, media mentions, editorial coverage and social media sharing. A press release will cut through the clutter of online noise by delivering real facts and interesting updates.
The only way a press release will benefit your SEO is if you’ve got something to say. Don’t do it for the links, do it because it means something. So, what does an effective press release look like? Our advice:
Clear and concise – no waffling or shoehorned jargon.
Avoid being spammy – SEO shouldn’t be the end goal, but a happy coincidence.
Insights, trends, and expertise! No selling.