Press releases are no longer just aimed at the media audience they were initially intended for. Under traditional definitions and communications practice, the humble press release was a communication tool used to communicate to the public via the media.
Releases were rarely seen by members of the public; only the news desks they were sent to.
However, it’s important to consider just how much the web has changed the value and power of press releases, which are now available to audiences beyond the media. Forward-thinking organisations are now uploading their releases online, a move that enables them to effectively bypass news desks and communicate directly to their target audiences.
In the online world, a story needs to be told in a format that is relevant to a wider range of people than ever before – reporters, bloggers and publishers, not to mention general members of the public.
Today’s modern media release therefore no longer consists of just text, but a wealth of multimedia assets, such as high resolution images, links to other internal web pages and external websites, video footage, downloadable files and social media material. These additions are invaluable in enabling a story to be shared and commented upon in social bookmarking, micro blogging and social networking communities.
Not only have media releases been transformed into a content-rich vehicle in recent years, but the significance of their potential to attract and harness people’s attention has also increased. The likelihood of the average multimedia-packed press release generating hits and being shared is far greater than if the same information was communicated using a text-only release.
The bottom line is that the web is not just responsible for helping shape the creation of a new identity for media releases, but harnessing them with an increased power that will undoubtedly continue to evolve as technology progresses.