Press releases aren’t dead, but this approach to them is

Look to the cable industry to see how release distributors should change their strategy.

Press releases aren’t dead, but this approach to them is

Companies around the world sign up to use press-release-distribution services, such as Cision PR Newswire, GlobeNewswire, Business Wire and Newswire.

Their goal is to select the right distribution network for the right audience at the right price. A company sends out its release, gets reports on the number of pickups secured and receives a variety of vanity metrics to show the value that they received for the price they paid.

But this approach no longer works for many companies.

Why would a customer want to pay to distribute their content to websites that have no relevance to the audience they want to reach, without any means of calculating the real value received relating to earned media, search traffic, marketing leads and sales?

Look at the transformation with the streaming market and the traditional cable industry. Once streaming companies started to innovate and allowed customers to select channels that addressed their content interests, lowered their costs, provided more control and improved value, the traditional cable model fell apart.

Customers require cost-effective, flexible and comprehensive press-release-distribution alternatives that provide open networks with the right media outlets to serve their desired audiences. Here’s one example: what if a company wanted to do financial disclosures through one network and send product announcements through a second network while enhancing media reach to specific trade lists? Press release distribution companies must step up to make options easier and more effective.

Press releases can serve as marketing tools to drive sales. Press release distributors could disseminate different forms of content, thought leadership, promotional product materials and multimedia advertising. Our customers would gain in achieving brand recognition, increasing website traffic, SEO, leads and sales.

Of course, the primary use of a press release is to give journalists information to write the news. But when skillfully repurposed, press releases can also serve as powerful advertising and marketing assets that produce concrete results.

Direct media outreach and pitching help to drive more earned media coverage. Writing the press release with SEO front-and-center helps to capture more eyeballs and drive search traffic while improving keyword rankings. Using press release content and messaging through email marketing helps to generate leads and sales opportunities that turn into revenue. Press releases can be repurposed as native or sponsored content to drive more traffic, generate pickup from top media outlets, and ultimately drive sales.

It’s time to follow the business model of streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu, as opposed to the outdated traditional cable model. Distributors need to rapidly move towards providing greater value and flexibility, offering bundled and unbundled packaged services that help customers, large and small, go to market, compete and win.

It’s time to learn from the changes in the cable and streaming industries. As providers and consumers, we all appreciate those lessons.

Joe Esposito is the CEO and president of Newswire.

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