Are press releases dead?

We’ve been having a bit of a debate around here about the relevance of press releases in this modern age of blogs, tweets, Facebook pages, mobile apps, and social networks. Are press releases still a useful or meaningful tool for communicating your messages to the press or the general public? Do they still work? Who should you send them to? Finally, is it time that the standard old-school press release gets a more modern makeover?

I decided to the contact one of the heavy hitters of all things press release-related – PRWeb – and ask them. Granted, they have a vested interest in press releases since they are one of the largest press release distribution services out there and I didn’t expect them to say ‘sorry, press releases just don’t work anymore’ but I also wanted to see what they thought about the relevance of press releases in this modern era.

I spoke to Paul McBride at PRWeb and asked him straight out, ‘are the number of press releases dropping?’ He chuckled and said ‘not at all! If anything we continue to see rising numbers year after year.’ And what about the number of subscribers? ‘We have more and more subscribers every year too. If these numbers weren’t growing, I’d be out of a job.’

According to PRWeb’s website ( they have more than 250,000 subscribers and as many as 30,000 bloggers and journalists as well as major news sites like Google News. They also say that by using search engine friendly releases they can distribute releases to straight to search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. And it isn’t just text. You can also include images, videos, and attachments in your releases. They have also embraced modern techniques such as SEO, social media, search-friendly releases, tracking tools, and more.

So it seems that as the media evolves from print to online so have the press release distribution services. According to Paul McBride “Yes, marketing has changed from the days when you put up a few billboards and bought some newspaper advertising or radio time, but even as the media has changed the way information gets distributed and consumed, press release distribution services have evolved to keep pace, and the press release is still an important tool for getting your message out there.”