Why press releases are still relevant

2021-05-17 by Ronn Torossian
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Companies have used press releases to get media attention for decades. A typical press release will contain for journalists the contact info of the main person behind a given project or event, information about what is happening, and facts. A press release is not an article; it’s one page of information.

Most communications and public relations professionals know what a press release is, but not everyone knows when to use it and how to use it effectively. Writing a press release does not mean media outlets will write a story about it. The important thing for journalists are the questions “is this story in the public interest” and “will this interest our audience.” Blasting press releases out to every media outlet in the area is fine. Still, the chance that they will all be interested is low. It is also essential not to ignore online content creators and blogs in favour of more traditional media outlets.  Press releases are still relevant in 2021 because they are such great tools for online content creators.

Be strategic

Press releases are most effective when they get into the hands of journalists and writers who have written about a given release’s topic or niche before. However, if a publication has run a story similar to or the same as a press release they receive, they will ignore it. A press release needs to be newsworthy; they are not tools for advertising an event or a product.

Timing is everything    

The majority of press releases are available “for immediate release.” Anyone can write about and share the information in one, with the public, at any time. Events, for example, are significant enough to announce and promote through press releases in advance.

Good news and changes to the status quo are interesting to readers.

Other essential subjects that may warrant a press release include a new program that has been developed or a fresh take on an old problem. This is especially true if the given solution breaks down barriers and can help a unique population with a problem. Awards, grants, and massive donations may also thus warrant a press release– especially if an organization or company received a prize or grant/donation for supporting a worthy cause.

Make it relevant to the audience.

Think about location– a local paper may not run a story about a new tech advancement, but if someone from that city or town created that tech advancement, it is newsworthy. However, a national tech magazine will probably be more interested in the first press release.

Think beyond the traditional media outlets

Press releases are not only for traditional media outlets such as newspapers and radio or tv programs. Blogs, podcasts, and other online creators and platforms should also be included as press-releasers. The scope of media outlets is more significant than it ever has been. While a traditional media outlet may not be interested in a given press release, there are tons of niche blogs, podcasts, newsletters and other online platforms that will be.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of leading PR agency 5WPR.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 200 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities