Do We Still Need Press Releases?

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It is a question I get now and then from start-ups (note that it doesn’t happen too often, which probably means that in most of the execs’ minds, press releases are still an important part of their PR tool set). Then, of course, the next question is: how many should we write every month?

While press releases are definitely not as “powerfu”l as they were a few years ago, they are still used by all of our clients. Also some editors still ask for them in order to make a decision of either taking or not taking a vendor call, and some even use them as a starting point for articles, following up with questions while writing it. I advise clients not to spam their Twitter or Facebook  followers with links to their press releases. I see both PR agencies and vendors doing that all the time and I know that it is frustrating to see these coming up in your Twitter stream.

Regarding how many press releases a month a start-up should issue, I say that 1-2 a month – if needed – would probably suffice.  Of course, I advise against sending “fluff” or press releases “made up” when things seem quiet. Things are rarely quiet in a start-up’s life (well, unless they run out of money, and we have seen quite a few of those this year), so instead of focusing on how many press releases they send out, companies should be looking at how many conversations they have been engaging in with editors, analysts, bloggers, and users.