We at AOR have heard this question from quite a few of our clients recently. The simple answer? It depends on whom you ask and what your goals are.
One of the few problems with the traditional press release is that it’s purely outbound marketing. It’s very much like casting a fishing line into the middle of a giant lake and hoping someone, some media source will bite. The problem with that is if the media sources aren’t hungry for the bait on your hook, you spent quite a bit of energy putting content out there that no one wants. It’s worth thinking through how media worthy, timely and intriguing your topic is and how likely sources might be to bite. If your bait seems completely irresistible than it may just be worth your time and effort to issue a press release.
A big issue I tend to have with press releases is that they are overly formal. Like it or not our society’s communication style is much more conversational now and tends to be very benefit-focused. Unfortunately, the rote format of the press release, often full of grandiose vocabulary or self-serving marketing terms, doesn’t speak to readers or end users in a very intriguing or digestible way. If it’s not at least somewhat fun to read, people probably won’t make it to the end.
Audiences are hungry for content. Interesting content.
If you’re thinking about a press release to promote a product launch, event or anything else you need to broadcast, you’re on the right track by creating content. AOR feels there is still definitely a time and place for a well-written press release. But, we also feel like they’re most powerful when incorporated as part of a larger, conceptual and clever marketing effort. There are amazing things you can do now with geo-targeted Facebook ads, guerilla marketing campaigns, blog posts and videos. Think about how else you can get the word out about what you’re up to—beyond the traditional template of a press release. Better yet, let AOR guide you through putting together a strategic and measurable plan for creating good, positive buzz.