How important are press releases?

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Increasing media communications options have rewritten the script for new business communications venues while maintaining a few traditional standbys. Among the survivors is the dependable—some say irreplaceable—press release. First tested by journalist and author James Reston back in 1955, the press release, in all its reincarnations, is as important today for distributing news and information about a business, professional or organization as it was half a century ago. In fact, when done correctly, press releases serve an invaluable role in every business’s PR and marketing plan.

Growing access to real-time communication options has opened new doors for business communications and breathed life into some old standbys. Done correctly, press releases are as important for getting information about your business to the public today as they were in 1955.

Important Public Relations Tool

A press release is a low-cost public relations tool, which is especially beneficial for a startup or growing small business. Each press release publicizes newsworthy information. While a grand opening, special event or new product launch are all good reasons for issuing a release, press releases also alert the public to product recalls while providing important consumer information and working to mitigate an internal crisis. For example, a press release might tell the public about an information security breach, explain what happened and outline the steps being taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Cost-Effective and Easily Distinguishable

A standard newspaper format makes it easy for readers to distinguish between a press release and an advertisement. For example, a headline, clear, concise wording and a fact-based presentation of the information make a press release clear and easy to read

What Press Releases Don’t Include

The importance of a press release lies as much in what it doesn’t include as in what it does. Because press releases typically don’t — and shouldn’t — include advertisements or any type of advertising or marketing copy, the public views the information in a press release as credible. The purpose of a press release is to convey newsworthy facts about a business, professional, organization or service.

Press Releases Today

Increasingly, heavy emphasis on social media as a public relations and marketing tool is giving press releases alternative publishing options. Once your press release has been distributed via an online wire distribution service, posting it on your business website allows you to directly communicate information to a wide audience and target specific audiences. Incorporating keywords and using SEO tools will significantly increase the likelihood your press release will appear in search engine results.

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