by Ann Bradley

It’s not unusual to hear people who work in communications dismiss press releases. Too “old school,” they say. Irrelevant in the digital era. Just clutter for reporters’ inboxes.

At The Hatcher Group, we are generally still fans of press releases—provided that a client has something newsworthy or noteworthy to say. This is obvious but should be the standard. If we don’t think the media would be interested, we never recommend a release.

But when we do, here’s why:

First, press releases can be extremely helpful for busy reporters. They convey the news and why it’s important and provide helpful roadmaps and contacts for reporters under deadline pressure.

Second, news releases are especially important for clients who are conveying complex information. Releases that accurately summarize key findings from complex polls and studies, for example, can guide reporters’ interviews and allow clients to elaborate on the points they want to make.

Of course, we never just send out a press release and sit back and expect coverage. We do a lot of personal outreach to key reporters as well. Having a release helps to capture their interest and give them a sense of whether pursuing a story is worth their time.

Increasingly, we also see some media outlets running press releases almost verbatim. These are typically smaller, online-only outlets that don’t have much staff. So this content provides a service for them and gets our clients’ news in front of unexpected audiences.

And finally, we’ve seen that the discipline required to prepare a press release can help our clients continue to sharpen their messages and focus—a benefit that spills over into all their communications efforts.

Interested in media relations? Please email me at ann@thehatchergroup.com

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