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5 Reasons Not to Issue a Press Release

By January 23, 2017 March 30th, 2017 No Comments

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

Companies often issue press releases that should not be released–either because the news is not really news, or because a wire service is not the best way to reach actual journalists and other influencers. There are plenty of reasons to make an announcement through a press release, the primary one being that you have genuine news that people want to know about.

Why would someone announce something that isn’t news? Well, first of all, many company leaders are confused about what is and isn’t news. Secondly, PR pros are often in a bind–when an executive says “send out a press release” of dubious relevance, they often have no choice but to comply.

The key question to ask when considering issuing a press release is, “who cares?” Is anyone outside of your company interested in the information? If not, you can be dead sure that no publication will write about it.

So maybe this will help–people can show it to the boss in order to get him or her to think twice about spending the time and effort on a press release that should be written in the first place. Here are 5 common non-news events that get announced far more often than they should.

  1. You move into a new building. I’ve written a few of these, under duress. No one really cares unless a) jobs are moving (then local press will care, but you don’t need a wire service to contact them); or b) your business looks like a spaceship.
  2. You have redesigned your website. Really? You’re going to tell the world that you have a new website? Again, you have to ask, does this pass the “who cares” test?
  3. You hired a new executive. Unless the executive is nationally known, no one will write about this–with the exception of local business journals or papers that have an “on the move” section. There just isn’t business benefit to letting the world know about your new CIO.
  4. You’re attending a trade show. Again, the world doesn’t need to know this. Maybe your customers do, and you might want to let them know through an email or social post, but sending an announcement to every news outlet in the land simply doesn’t make sense unless you are making a major new product announcement at the event that is truly newsworthy.
  5. You think it will build your SEO cred. It won’t. In fact, the opposite will happen. Keyword-stuffed press releases worked five years ago, but Google has figured out how to identify these and they will either get you no value or will hurt your SEO ranking. If you don’t believe me, read Google’s webmaster guidelines on link schemes.

I know people often think they need to issue a press release to “let people know about us.” The problem is no one will read them. Press releases issued on a wire service do indeed get republished on major media news feeds, but they don’t appear anywhere on any actual news pages that anyone would ever find without searching for your company. If someone is searching for your company, they already know about you and will likely visit your website. You can create a news page on your website where you can publish internal news.  But using a press release to announce news that is relevant only to your company is a bad idea–harmless at best and harmful at worst in that it makes the company look small and desperate.

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

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