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Is it time to announce the death of the press release?

Seriously: Is it time to announce the death of the press release?


In spite of what you might read elsewhere, the press release is still alive.

Very alive.

I read an article last week about how one company has ditched the press release in favor of announcing news on its blog.

In reality, it hasn’t stopped using press releases as the article states. Instead, it has stopped paying press release distribution services to distribute its news to a long list of media outlets that might or might not be interested in its news.

In fact, the company is still writing press releases, but it’s calling them something else: blog posts.

Finally approaching publicity the right way

And, instead of using mass distribution to push the news out to the press, the company is finally doing what it should have been doing in the first place:

  • Creating a targeted media list of outlets that are important to its success and that are likely to be interested in its news.
  • Identifying the journalists at those outlets that report on the news this company shares.
  • Developing story ideas for those outlets.
  • Cultivating relationships with those journalists.
  • Posting the news on its blog.

The article frustrated me for three reasons:

  1. It’s dissing the press release as a media relations tool when, in fact, it’s possible the company was using it the wrong way — we can’t really tell. Let’s be honest. It lists “new hires” as one of the press releases it previously distributed. These are not big news generators.
  2. The company is now approaching publicity the right way — and blaming the press release for its earlier ignorance.
  3. Other entrepreneurs and in particular, unknown authors who aren’t brand names like this company, will read the article and think they should never write and distribute a press release again.

Don’t ditch it — learn how to use it

Here’s the deal: The press release isn’t the only media relations tool authors should use to get book publicity. In fact, I’ve created an entire workbook of media relations tools and templates authors need to score ongoing media attention. But the press release is still a great publicity tool for authors, and one type in particular is essential: the press release that announces your book.

Here are just three ways you will use a book announcement press release:

  1. Send it with review copies.
  2. Post it on free press release distribution sites to generate links back to your site.
  3. Use it as background when pitching blogs for your virtual book tour.

I’ve got more reasons why you need that particular type of press release in my blog post, “Why you must have a press release that announces your book.” The authors in my online courses who have used these press releases to help snag major media exposure for their books will also tell you that the press release isn’t dead.

This “we’re ditching the press release” article will be helpful for many types of businesses. It has good information and the potential to improve how many approach the publicity process. But the company involved can’t be compared to an author, so authors shouldn’t embrace everything in the article without running it through a “is this business just like mine?” filter.

I hope you can keep this in mind when you encounter information online that seems counter-intutive or different from what you already know.

What questions do you have about press releases and how to use them — or not use them?

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  1. Thanks, Sandra.
    This was really helpful.
    Just today, I was debating whether I should send out a press release for my latest novel – The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Qureishi!
    Now I think I shall definitely get down to doing it.
    It’s a joy – and very useful – to read your posts.

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