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The press release – dead or just resting?

Posted on 25th April 2017 under Labs
  • Wildfire labs experiment puts the ‘death’ of the press release under the microscope
  • 98% of press release coverage mentions key message from the release
  • 82% of coverage uses the direct spokesperson quote from the release
  • 46% of coverage includes a link back to an organisation’s website or landing page provided in the release

25th April 2017, London UK — New research has found that 98% of coverage resulting from press releases incorporates the key message from a company’s announcement, 82% uses the spokesperson quote from the release, and 46% includes the link back to the business’ website provided in the copy. That’s according to the boffins at Wildfire labs whose latest PR ‘science experiment’ looks at the question of whether the press release is alive and well or has shuffled off this mortal coil.

With many journalists complaining about the volume of press releases they receive, a growing number of PR professionals have started to question the value of the press release as a promotional tool. In July 2016, Forbes declared press releases “dead”, claiming that they no longer add real value to a business’ marketing approach.

To test this notion, the Wildfire labs team reviewed coverage from over 100 press releases across five key technology sectors to find out how effective the releases were in getting a business’ message across. Coverage was scrutinised for whether it included the most important elements from the original press release: the company’s key message, a direct quote, and a link back to the company’s website – crucial for SEO purposes.

The results were overwhelming, with the vast majority of coverage including all of these key indicators. So it seems that the humble press release may yet have some legs. You can watch the full video of Wildfire labs’ experiment here.

Debby Penton, managing director of Wildfire labs commented: “Despite all the talk around this topic, few PRs have ever bothered to test whether the press release actually adds value. While it seems there is still life in the old dog yet, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that PR campaigns today can be sustained by press releases alone. Instead, if a campaign is to achieve real business impact, releases need to be seen as part of a strategic promotional mix and used in tandem with a range of other more targeted techniques. However, as long as press releases are used to promote real news and genuinely aid journalists then they can still be a PR’s faithful friend.”

For more information about Wildfire labs and to see the full results of the experiment please visit: www.wildfirepr.com/labs

Images relating to Wildfire labs are available here

Experiment video embed:

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