Up to this moment in “cyber news”, the press release has worked as a significant contributor to what we used to call journalism. The press release was able to give reporters and editors at newspapers and magazines – print, and TV, radio — broadcast media an essential story. Relevant information was the currency between news makers and news reporters.
Now, there are so many omni-media ways for the PR practitioners to reach their audiences: blogs, tweets, social media, e-mail newsletters, webinars, et al. And, in this cyber world, search engines provide another major tool for omni-information seekers. The press release remains useful as always, if it is relevant in this new environment of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). P.R. managers and marketing directors may possibly add “journalist” to their job descriptions, since at this time they manage many more operations and produce publishable content, which can directly reach their key audiences.
If there was a period when the preponderance of media might have been a problem for a public relations operation to continue using the press release, it’s no longer the case. One of the reasons the release gained publishing power, is because it helps to deliver the coveted SEO. As such, these optimized links have brought companies their most useful keywords, helping them to obtain more acceptance on the Internet. This is now a successful strategy to aid brands and companies with their online presence and recognition.
However, these optimized links are being questioned. Some industry voices have described these as “link devices,” warning that the anchor text in the news release will no longer build a company’s SEO and creating more links may even damage SEO. Thus, brand content groups that produce readers to build “unnatural” links will be seriously stymied.
Point — Counter Point!!
As always, if the press agent dished out bad information, the media rejected it. If they provided valid news of relevance to the media’s audience, the media appreciated the helpful, newsworthy information. There are fewer gatekeepers to filter the news, aka content. Then as now, high content stories provided in today’s press releases could still service market education and offer online discoveries through the omni-channels.
Therefore, we believe the press release is still a valid marketing strategy and tool, even if it is different from the past. It needs to strive to be an effective communicator of authentic and timely content.
Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.