I used to be the News Director for a media company that hosted over 50 websites. It was my job to find and post news and new product announcements on each of those sites every day. Needless to say, I relied heavily on press releases for a lot of that information. On an average day I would scan 150 to 200 press releases looking for items I could use.
On one hand you might think it would be easy for any one press release to get lost among the blizzard of other releases, and to some degree that’s true. But on the other hand, it would have to be a pretty important story or a mighty high-profile company to make me want to spend extra time trying to dig out that information myself. So you could think of sending out a press release like buying a lottery ticket – the odds of winning might not be that great but if you don’t buy a ticket you’ll never win.
The web is filled with ‘news’ websites that cater to just about any taste you can think of. But if you track the stories they cover you begin to discover that many of them are basically just copying each other. They may rewrite a story. They might just link back to the original. And sometimes they simply plagiarize other people’s stories word-for-word. It’s not terribly surprising since bloggers and web reporters tend to get paid only a few dollars per post and that means they’ve got to post a lot of stories if they want to earn a living.
Of course, this also means that bloggers will snatch up any information they can get if it saves them some time and press releases provide them with fast, easy to re-purpose content. Press releases cost next to nothing to produce, are relatively inexpensive to distribute, and, best of all you get to tell your story your way. As long as you supply the information in an easy-to-read, easy to excerpt fashion and include all the relevant information (without too much hype) you should be able to get your message out there.
So take advantage of the bloggers unquenchable thirst for content and don’t dismiss the good old press release.