“Is the news release dead?”

It’s an ongoing question – and topic of discussion – among marketeers.

Take it from me: The news release is alive and well.

Furthermore, the Internet and social media give you lots of opportunities to extend the reach and life of every news release you issue. Using the right keywords for SEO, for instance, will get you better visibility if someone is searching for what you offer in your news release. Using Internet news sites will get out it there for potential customers to find, helping you reach people you don’t know.

Similarly, getting a viral push from social media will help you use contacts to get your story out to people they know – ad infinitum. And, you can send your news release directly to appropriate people in your contact list.

But one of the best ways to get your news in front of customers and prospects, especially in the B2B arena, is to get your news release to trade media editors. The trade media are both printed and online, and their readers (and visitors) still rely on editors to filter all the stuff out there and bring them relevant information. When an editor publishes your news release, it’s not an endorsement of your product or service. It’s a judgment that your news is useful or interesting for the reader, and the trade media live to help their readers do their jobs better.

Assuming you’ve met the criteria of good news release (news value, a clear narrative and an illuminating quote – among others), you can use it as an opener for getting more coverage. Good PR practice is to accompany your news release copy with a photo or line illustration, such as a diagram or chart. Bad PR practice is to send editors unsolicited attachments. Some don’t open them, and some never even see them because their email systems simply don’t deliver them. They get hundreds of emails every day, and we all know about viruses and attachments, sometimes even from people we know very well.

To get our news out, we send news releases as HTML messages (and include language that works if a mail system only takes it as plain text). We embed low-resolution image files and include captions. By labeling the caption, anyone who receives the file in plain text will know an image is available.

We also include a note to editors to let them know a high-resolution file of the image is available (print media require 300 dpi) and give them instructions for getting it. Those who read an HTML email can click on a link that automatically generates an email to me. The subject line is already filled in, so I know which picture they want. They don’t have to generate a single keystroke. Those who get the news release in plain text are instructed to send me an email with the subject line that tells me which picture to send. I just need to reply with the attachment.

The response gives me the opportunity to open a dialogue by email or phone (or Skype). I can suggest a feature article, such as a case history or technical expertise article, that ties in with something coming up on their editorial calendar. We can discuss several story lines and determine what will best match my client’s needs and their readers’ needs.

In this way, the news release gets an extended life – into a feature article that likely will be published online and in print. We can send links to the online article to appropriate customers and prospects – generating more SEO visibility – and get reprints of the article to use as handouts at tradeshows or leave-behinds for sales calls. And, of course, our clients can post the articles on their websites.

Yes, the news release lives – and lives.