No, press releases aren’t dead -- but sometimes there are better alternatives

Jan 09, 2018
No, press releases aren’t dead -- but sometimes there are better alternatives

Press releases. Just the term itself can spark a debate among PR pros.

Are they dead or alive? Why do we still need them? Can’t we move on from press releases? Isn’t there a better way to achieve our PR goals?

While reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, brands don't need a press release for everything they do.

Press releases are still useful, but, there are scenarios when a release may not be the best fit. In our rush to get the news out — or to please our client or boss — we may forget that there are other options to help us achieve our goals.

In those cases, here’s a refresher on some alternatives to consider.

1. Send only a pitch

Sometimes, a client may come to you with news they believe would interest the media. While you may see the value in it for a few select publications, it may be best to advise the client that it doesn’t warrant a press release.

What can you do instead? Write a pitch and send it to reporters who might want the story. You can be much more targeted and achieve better results.

2. Pitch the idea as a contributed article

Maybe the story is more of an opinion or a take on an industry trend. In that case, why not craft a contributed article abstract that can be pitched to industry publications? They’re often looking for pieces to fill their pages.

Once it’s published, you can post it on your site and on social media and share it with your email subscribers or in your newsletter, getting even more bang for the buck.

3. Offer an exclusive

If you’ve built a relationship with a reporter you feel would do the story justice, you can offer the story as an exclusive.

Here’s an example. I once worked with an entrepreneur who had a unique invention — but he didn’t have a lot of money for marketing and PR.

Instead, we worked with an Associated Press reporter from our local bureau who loved getting an exclusive. When he wrote a story, it would go to all the AP bureaus. (Currently, there are more than 200 bureaus in 100 countries.)

This achieved our PR goals — and then some. Each time we had an announcement, we would contact him first. The story would go international, no press release required.

4. Try video

Maybe video would do a better job of telling the story. Videos are all the rage — and are only increasing in popularity. Over 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day.

So why not try making a quick video piece to get the story out? It can be shared on your site, on social media and perhaps even in your newsletter or as an email blast to your subscribers.

5. Self publish

Then there are cases when you’ve pitched a story — only to hear crickets. In those situations, self-publishing can save the day. Write a blog post and share it on social media. It gets the news out.

There are also platforms like Medium and LinkedIn that allow you to self-publish articles.

6. Share it in your newsletter

Perhaps the news might make a good story for your newsletter. That way, everyone who subscribes to your email list will see it and potentially share it. You can repurpose contributed articles here, too (see #2 above).  

7. Create an infographic

Infographics can showcase statistics and serve as a good option to a traditional press release. Don’t have an internal art department?

Try a tool like Canva or Venngage to create one.

8. Use an image

Maybe a compelling image could say a thousand words. In that case, allow it to tell the story.

Research found that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. But, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

There you have eight alternatives to consider the next time you’re faced with creating a press release. Maybe one, or a combination, of these would better suit your purpose. Just don’t overlook any options as you consider how to get the job done.

You'll find Michelle Messenger Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations consultant, content creator, blogger, speaker and award-winning writer, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Meltwater, Spin Sucks, Freelancers Union and others. She was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica. Michelle was also recently appointed to the board of Women in PR USA.

Photo via Pixabay

About the author

Freelance writer. PR consultant. Top 100 #PR influencer. Blogger @PRDaily, @Meltwater, @MuckRack. Social media nerd. Coffeeaholic. #Tech | #B2B | #Smallbiz

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