With the rise of technology and social media, traditional public relations tactics have either evolved or gone extinct. Many marketers and journalists have debated whether evolution or extinction is inevitable for press releases. In the not so distant past, press releases were the main way for brands and companies to get journalists to report on their news. Press releases were so important that entire college courses and seminars have been created to teach people how to write an effective press release. But, in today’s busy and noisy environment who has time to read a 3 to 4 paragraph press release? Most of the journalists I know don’t have that kind of time. So to answer the question “is the press release evolving or going extinct,” I think the answer is both.
The traditional format for a press release, you know the template we were all taught in school, is going extinct. Journalists don’t have time to read through long and wordy press releases. In addition, Google no longer allows press releases to boost SEO. With that said, I don't think press releases are going extinct all together. With some evolution, press releases can still be very effective at promoting company news and announcements.
In order to be effective, press releases need to be highly tailored to each journalist and publication, taking in to consideration audience, tone, and angle. Press releases should make the job of the journalist as easy as possible. If the journalist has to weed through a long press release searching for the diamond of information that pertains to their audience, then your strategy is all wrong. Do your research before writing your press release. Know who you want to send it to and understand what that journalist's objectives are. Then write your press release to help them achieve those objectives. Another way to evolve your press release is to include visual assets like an infographic, video, or compelling photo. In a world of 140 character tweets (or now 240 characters), people have increasingly shortened attention spans are becoming more drawn to visual content. Lastly, your press release is bound to be more effective if it either tells a really compelling story or it has a unique component that makes it stand out. Don’t be afraid to be creative and break the traditional press release mold. Because in today’s world, if you don’t evolve you will go extinct.