As publicists, press releases are in our blood. We can write them in our sleep and craft story angles on the fly. But as the industry evolves and progresses, the old one-pager seems less and less relevant.

When a new client approaches a PR firm, the first thing they will expect is a shining new press release, outlining their achievements and merit, and damned are we if we don’t give it to them. But just how relevant are press releases to the actual press?

Times have changed since the days of faxing a single release and seeing results. The oversaturation of information and rise of social media means tactics are changing and a formal release may get lost in the ether.

In PR today, we use press releases as the bones of what we want to say and nine times out of 10 that release will be accompanied with a personalised pitch of some sort. The press release is a way of backing up the pitch, giving accreditation to our sources or giving some additional less-newsworthy information.

With a history stretching over 100 years, the press release is undoubtedly a useful tool but with rapid changes to technology, they are no longer the only way to reach press.

Try being creative and pitch your story in a unique, attention-grabbing way, like:

  • Video release. Instead of another factual release, a video can be an engaging way to tell your story. This can be particularly effective when you’ve got something evocative and personal to share.
  • Utilise visuals. As proven through social media, visuals are generally more engaging than text. Send a really beautiful release to press that is light on words but visually stunning and you may get more responses than you think.
  • Meet up in person. The oldest adage of PR is that it’s essentially all about good relationships. These are better honed over a coffee (or a wine!) than via email so getting out of the office will pay you dividends.
  • Don’t forget social media. Engaging campaigns are social, they get people talking and social media now means that everyone can join in. Releasing news via established social media channels can be very effective and opens the conversation to press and consumers.

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