The Evolution of the Press Release
Sunday, May 11, 2008; 4:09 PM
Editor's note:The press release is the least loved document in the media universe. We get way too many here at TechCrunch, and some bloggers equate them tospam. But they do have their uses. In this guest post,Brian Solisexplains how the press release has evolved, and sheds some light on why it may be so difficult to kill off. Solis writes this from the perspective of a PR professional. He is Principal ofFutureWorks, a PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley and also blogs atPR 2.0.
Press releases come in different flavors and serve different purposes. Well-written press releases are far from dead. In fact, when developed strategically, their opportunities, appeal and benefits are only expanding in conjunction with the groups of various influencers and consumers who rely on them for relevant information.
The disruption of the Web has splintered press releases into a variety of formats to serve different audiences and different purposes: Traditional releases for media, SEO (search engine optimized) releases for customers, and Social Media Releases for press, bloggers, and also customers.
Customer-Focused News Releases
Companies and marketers can use distribution services to complement releases written for journalists and bloggers to reach customers directly through traditional search engines as well as news aggregation services such as Techmeme.
Over the course of the last several months, BusinessWire and PRNewswire have consistently ranked in the top 100 sources for news in Techmeme's Leaderboard.
And, according to a recent Outsell study, over 51% of IT professionals reported that they get their news from press releases in Yahoo and Google news over trade journals.
And it's not just tech. When implemented with calls and links to action, and if they read in a way that's compelling to people aka customers, you?ll find that they?re usually compelled to act.
The trick for this new breed of press releases is to write it as the article you want to read. Keep it clean, clear, pseudo impartial, but definitely focused on benefits for specific customers. Basically, humanize the story.
Here?s a rundown of the different formats of press releases: