There is a consensus among PR professionals that PR isn’t just about pushing your message out there anymore. In the changed communication paradigm, corporations turned from one main channel of information to many. Hence, the idea of corporate use of social media.
Now within this (not so) new scenario, one could think the classical press release lost its purpose. Apparently corporations are not convinced. In our media research tool, Factiva, we carry a significant number of press release wires. A study based on the number of releases shows us the following trend:
At year-end 2009, one could have concluded that we were watching the decline of a tool that doesn’t fit the current corporate communication model. Nevertheless, that trend seems to be reversed in the last three years with 2012 looking to become a record year.
Although volumes are back up, the use of a press release has changed and has become one of many instruments to drive traffic back to main communication channels. A small example: on July 1st, AT&T announced it reached an agreement with AMC Networks to keep carrying the network in its U-verse TV service. AT&T distributed the news through PR Newswire and other press release wires. The release contained links to its corporate website as well as its Twitter account. This linked back to a dedicated website on the dispute. AMC’s release on the same issue contained no such internal links. In the last day, the release from AT&T was immediately used as the basis of 19 news stories while AMC’s version only led to 4 news stories. Press releases still play a valuable role as long as they are designed to accommodate today’s channels of information. Now, we want to hear from you- do you think the usage of press releases will rise or decline in 2012?
Koen Platteeuw is a Media Consultant at Dow Jones and has worked for more than 10 years in a variety of Media Research roles. He works closely with clients in the pharmaceutical, food and agricultural, chemicals as well as the transportation and logistics industries. Koen is accredited by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and holds a post graduate degree in Digital Journalism from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.