The Changing Role of Press Releases

by David D. Menzies
President, Innovative Public Relations, Inc.
It seems so very long ago, but really it was just in 2002 that the World Wide Web became ubiquitous. Google's search engine, ebay, Amazon, airline booking sites -- these all began reaching consumers in record numbers. In the years that followed, other companies and individuals began to discover ways to reach those same consumers directly, including public relations professionals. Prior to the days of anything starting with "www" press releases were basically a way to educate third parties like news media reporters and editors and solicit their interest in covering the subject of the press release in their outlet in order to reach consumers. That is still a major role of press releases today; however, the press releases themselves have become a way to target consumers directly with strategic messaging about a company's brand, products and services.

Referred to as "content marketing" by many, the idea nowadays is to basically write mini news articles within press releases and get them published on multiple sites throughout the Web. Instead of being filtered by reporters, who may use snippets or take their story in a completely different direction, today's press releases -- mini articles that can stand on their own -- are published intact and are seen directly by companies’ actual target audiences. [tweet this] This comes with a challenge to ensure the information is well-written, factual, newsworthy, and interesting to the average Web news consumer, who has become quite savvy and can smell sales lingo a mile away.

In order for today's press releases to deliver the best results, the author needs to consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when developing the content. Instead of trying to impress reporters with exaggerated company details or wild claims, clich├ęs, and adjective after adjective to describe company growth and news, successful "content marketing" press releases must contain key words and phrases tied to SEO goals while at the same time being as newsworthy, intriguing, and honest as they can be.

Properly utilizing SEO in a press release; keeping the content honest and newsworthy; and writing it as a mini, standalone article can help deliver strategic messaging about a company directly to consumers, fully intact. Implementing this approach takes full advantage of press releases as effective, affordable tools to support and enhance marketing, advertising, social media and business development efforts and achieve the highest return on investment possible.

David D. Menzies is president of Innovative Public Relations, a PR and media relations consultancy. He is a 22+ year public relations professional with expertise in strategic messaging, publicity and branding. For more information visit Copyright © 2014 Innovative Public Relations, Inc. Publicity and branding solutions from Innovative Public Relations help U.S. and international life sciences and technology companies get in front of prospective customers and cement their brands in the marketplace. Click here to learn more about our signature Proposal => Engagement => Success model.