Does Your Press Release Need Some Multimedia Magic?

To press release or not to press release? Isn’t that always the question? Fact is, no matter how much people talk about the death of the press release, they’re still used by many companies and marketers to get the word out.

According to Laura Sturaitis, EVP of media services and product strategy at Business Wire, press releases are more than a media relations tool. “Other audiences are utilizing them,” she says. “That’s what makes them social and consumable.”

The keys are links and other multimedia components that are built into the press release from the start. According to Sturaitis, “A high number of press releases don’t have any links at all.”

“Data, on average, shows a bump in views of press releases with multimedia components,” adds Tom Becktold, SVP of marketing for the company.

Last week, Business Wire announced a number of perks that the company has added to its NewsTrak measurement dashboard. Measuring the effectiveness of a press release these days has changed.

“We’re finding we’re consulting with clients more about what happens after it goes over the wire,” said Sturaitis, who told PRNewser that a press release should be a “portal” with links and multimedia components driving traffic to a client’s website, social networks, or other landing pages. “The expectation is that you’re talking to people who will share the information with their own networks.”

To that end, measurement is about answering questions like “How did we drive traffic?” And “From where?” Also important is “building authority for keywords.” Words used in the press release, in the release’s headline, and throughout other marketing and messaging should include words that will also help with search optimization.

During the PRSA Digital Conference, Microsoft’s senior director of public and influencer relations Adam Sohn was asked whether the press release was dead. While he didn’t think “it was all the way dead,” he admitted that he has written very few of them, saying “we’ve trained people to come to the blog, but we’ve been trained to take the blog seriously.”

Of course, press releases are business for Business Wire. But, Sturaitis says, they’re still relevant, evidenced by the fact that the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “If people can understand that they can create newsy messages, use the wire for distribution knowing it’ll be shared and available on a multitude of platforms, I think it’s a good thing,” she said.

Sturaitis is also the author of the latest Business Wire white paper about measurement, which you can check out here. What are your thoughts about the proper use of a press release? Or do you agree more with Sohn? The comments are open.