The humble press release began its life in 1906, the first ever press release was sent out following a Pennsylvania railroad accident by Ivy Lee.
The logical move by Ivy Lee to send out a press release was decided with the rationale that journalists would want information about the railroad accident. By giving them what they wanted in the form of a press release, the story could be controlled.
The desire to ‘control the story’ has not changed in recent years, however in the last 105 years the press release has seen some major changes.
The press release is adaptable and versatile, it has become a key communication tool that can be useful in many different PR, marketing and communication challenges. To name a few; to keep up with disclosure requirements, a launch, producing credibility with content. Online PR; directing traffic to a website, increasing search engine optimisation and creating awareness among online media.
From humble beginnings, it has been argued by many a PRO that the press release is one of the most powerful and important tools they have. It has evolved from a traditional media relations tool, to being essential for online PR – when used as an interactive web page, when links and tags are added, it can deliver great results from many different platforms and devices.
And why has the press release lasted this long – and still thriving and evolving – because it creates a stream of news and information, with no middle man, that goes directly to the journalists.