Press releases are pretty much dead in the tech press according to Chenda Ngak, the head of PR for Automattic.com a firm which owns names like Tumblr, WordPress.com and WooCommerce. Instead, it is now all about relationships.
Do they serve any purpose?
Chenda Ngak (Automattic.com) says that when she was a network news journalist she only ever used them for contact information for people. Plus occasionally they would be used to pull a quote from, providing the source was trusted. But press releases are only read if they come from someone journalists know or are keen to hear from.
Why do people still turn to press releases?
There can be a temptation to use them because management is asking for them. They are also easily quantified. When people ask, how well is the PR team doing, the PR team can say they sent out 6 press releases this month.
These were the thoughts of Funmi Lijadu, a journalist and PR.
- It depends on the industry. Some sectors rely on press releases more than others.
- There are lots of formats for press releases, but personal relationships will always trump these.
- It’s reassuring in a PR role and good to say to a client or boss that you know a journalist will open your pitch.
- All that said, there is always an element of luck, timing and persistence.
- The most successful PRs are the ones who help journalists write the stories THEY want to write
What are the alternatives?
Instead of press releases, write blog posts. This is a view shared by Illyana Stareva (author of Inbound PR) too.