online newsroom

The Case for the Press Release

The press release, despite a checkered past, remains a valuable tool in the digital era to tell a good story.

The press release, despite a checkered past, remains a valuable tool in the digital era to tell a good story.

The press release has been a public relations staple, a pariah and a candidate for burial. But it is still around and, in the digital era, may be enjoying new life.

Ridiculed as self-promoting puffery, press releases don’t have to be stuffed with smarmy statements by company executives. Instead they can be engaging storytelling platforms. 

With slimmer news staffs, credible, well-written press releases can tell an entire story for a news reporter or producer and entice them to pursue it. Or, in some cases, they can use the press release as the stem for their own story.

See one of our recent press releases, and then check out how it translated into a story in The Oregonian

The storytelling press release also can be original content placed on your own website or online newsroom. Your online newsroom can and should be designed to look and feel like a “news” site. And your content, including press releases, should resemble the news.

Some good uses of press releases include:

•  Distilling a story with complexity to its comprehensible essence.

•  Highlighting elements of a story that have human interest and are entertaining or unusual.

•  Conveying meaningful, on-point quotes without an in-person or on-camera interview.

•  Providing the backstory to an event or milestone.

•  Calls to action that drive trackable traffic to your website or online newsroom.

•  Offering background information, visual assets, links and contact information that make following a story easier.

•  Gaining wider exposure than a single channel.

A rule of thumb is that the newsier a press release reads, the more likely it will gain some traction in a newsroom – or on your own online newsroom.

Vanity press releases have less appeal to the media – and readers – than press releases that are audience-centric. The key is providing quality content that is readable and even enjoyable.

Call it brand journalism or anything else, your press release can do the job if it’s clear, clever or convincing and it’s credible. If you want to make the news, your press release needs to be newsworthy – in content, approach and style. It needs to tell a genuine story.

Five-Star Media Amenities

When you shop online for a hotel, you look for amenities of interest — free Wi-Fi, a fitness center and a great restaurant. Reporters and bloggers shop online for good stories.

The best way to feed that appetite is a juicy digital media kit, with sharable, downloadable resources created, curated and housed online — and designed for media consumption.

Instead of stale press releases, you need to provide tantalizing story angles, useful information and tangible assets that reporters can readily access.

Examples of content in a digital media kit include:

•  High quality images

•   Embedded video

•  Downloadable fact sheets, backgrounders and news releases

•  Links to social media sites

• Contact information for credible sources or testimonials

A well-conceived digital media kit offers an a la carte menu that saves the media time. It can offer a tempting story possibility with an appetizer's worth of information on how to pursue the story.

The better your story hooks, the more often reporters will visit your kit. The more your stories pan out, the greater your credibility with the media.