Some industry commentators argue that journalists have no interest in simply republishing content that’s already been circulated widely and published online because it is no longer newsworthy. Others feel that in today’s world of evolving technology, there are better ways to share company news other than the traditional press release.

Even executives at large corporations have voiced the opinion that the press release is a thing of the past. Coca-Cola, for example, has stated publicly that the company is moving away from “press release PR” to focus more on digital content data, and plans to eliminate all traditional press releases by 2015.

Perhaps the most notable part of Coca-Cola’s statement is the use of the word ‘traditional’. Certainly, the media has evolved beyond all recognition within the last decade, thanks to the rise of digital, social and prosumers, so it would be no surprise to see the traditional press release become a much more interactive document – with embedded video and links, for example.

However, as an accepted channel of corporate communication, it would be surprising if a firm such as Coca-Cola was to eliminate press releases entirely from its media strategy. Indeed, Aspectus has long argued that the press release is alive and well and living on the internet and that it is how you approach them that counts.

But it’s good to revisit the basics as to why we still view the press release as a valuable PR tool in today’s digital world:

  • Press releases are an effective way to communicate news to your audience in a concise form – new hires, new products, technology advancements and more
  • Keeping an updated newsroom – containing an archive of past releases – not only shows your company’s history and accomplishments in one accessible location, but provides journalists with an essential, searchable resource should they want to examine your heritage
  • Press releases are still relied upon by journalists, bloggers et al as a great source of concise information

Ultimately, we would argue that the press release is not dead. Rather, it is our role as PR professionals to counsel our clients on how and when to use press releases effectively. Companies might need to adjust their press release distribution strategies to accommodate evolving technology and social media but, for now, it is still very much alive and kicking.  

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