We let the facts do the talking.

Press releases — the oldest but most misunderstood tool of the PR trade

PART 1: Why we still need press releases

Even in our high-tech, video-laden, image strewn digital world, writing is still one of our most powerful methods of communication. While many people believe press releases are old-fashioned or irrelevant, the truth is that much of the news you read online or in the papers still reaches journalists in this format.

As public relations experts, it is crucial to position our client’s key messages in top tier publications — whether online or offline — and at the end of the day press releases remain a key method for securing publicity and coverage. In fact, in our part of the world the media relies heavily on well written, timely and concise press releases, and will often base whole stories on news that has reached them this way.

For this reason, writing and distributing press releases in a professional manner is not only important for securing coverage, but also for positioning ourselves as experts in our industry and building strong media relations. Whenever the media needs someone to comment on a story, you want to be the one they call on.

At the same time, with all the online press releases at the moment — whether newswires or social media — the media is no longer our only target audience. More than 80 million people currently get their news from online sources, so writing compelling press releases is also a way to speak directly to the consumers we are trying to reach, improve brand image and expand public knowledge.

Press releases are not advertisements, they are stories, and at heart PR professionals are still storytellers. They are also true and based on fact, which makes them essential for providing the public with a credible and authentic view of the news.

While press releases remain an important PR tool for securing coverage, enhancing media relations, gaining consumer trust and telling stories, they are often written very poorly, which defies the point. In the next part of my blog I’ll be sharing six easy tips that will help you write better press releases.

Antoine Boghos is the Account Executive of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. | www.cbpr.me