Companies and organizations used to send out press releases in order to gain attention from the press, hence the name. Also known as media release, press statement, or news release , they were sent to members of the established press to announce newsworthy information. The idea was to entice reporters to write about the newsworthy event, product, sale, or business news. Ideally, the reporter would decide to not just repeat the release, but generate a full story about the company or person for their newspaper, magazine, or tv or radio station.
Today, press releases are still used in public relations as a means to garner positive media attention for their client. However, with the rise of the internet and the falling importance of traditional media outlets, marketers have discovered that press releases can serve other purposes. Online reputation management companies such as Elixir Interactive , have found press releases to be good tools for improving the search engine results for companies, individuals, and brands. They not only highlight positive news about a brand, but they can occupy prime territory in the results pages that might otherwise have held a negative review or attack site.
Another function of press releases is link building . Google and other search engines assign a great deal of value to how important a page is on the web. That importance is calculated by the number and authority of web pages that link back to or cite the original page. Press releases generally allow companies to embed links to relevant, supporting information, thus improving the company’s link footprint as seen by the search engine.
Lastly, press releases can serve as a direct way to communicate with the public. Whether or not news agencies or other websites pick up a news item, the press release itself can be seen in web and news searches and communicate information about upcoming events, product launches, as well as share financial or business information directly with the public. A company can also create an archive of all their news that can serve as a company history for anyone doing research.