Press Releases: A Lost Art for Modern PR Pros

The days of reaching the media with mass distribution of a press release are long gone.  While press releases can still be very valuable, journalists are using them less and less to get news.


Journalists are not interested in reading lengthy press releases rife with long-winded corporate jargon.  The reality is that press releases are becoming a huge headache for the media, who ultimately just want the facts – who, what, when, where, and why.

A survey conducted by the communications firm Greentarget found that out of 100 polled journalists, 70 spend less than one minute reading each press release.

Naturally, the question may pose itself: where are journalists going to get story ideas?  According to the survey, 68 % of journalists say they get their ideas from tips and sources, 41 % from news outlets, and 34% from press releases.

This can be frustrating for PR professionals to accept as press releases are still viewed as a pivotal component for the communications field.  Personally, I find it frustrating to spend hours (and sometimes days) writing a press release only to have it ignored by media.

Now that we’ve established that press releases are still necessary to accomplish communication initiatives, here are some things to consider that will increase the odds of getting your news release picked up:

  • Craft your subject lines strategically – this could be the difference between getting your email read or ignored.
  • Use bullet points when appropriate.  Media prefer receiving their information in bite-sized pieces with little extraneous detail.
  • Consider a thought leadership angle – research, surveys, and case studies can be very valuable and enhance the story.
  • Hyperlink a press release on social media – this is a great way to expand your reach.
  • Only send press releases that are relevant to the beats of the reporter.  For example, you wouldn’t send a business journalist a press release about a new smartphone case.

I’ve been getting similar feedback from media for quite some time now.  They get hundreds of press releases emailed to them every week.  PR professionals should be mindful of challenges media face and service them in the most helpful ways.