The prominence of Internet search engines such as Google and their familiarity to younger business executives may be accelerating the demise of the print media faster than even publishers realize, says an Atlanta publicist.
Ron Goodden, principal of RonGoodden.com, an agency specializing in commercial press releases, says that the past three years have seen a sea change in attitude among businesses he serves. “Many no longer even care if the print media pick up their news stories. Coverage on the Internet is their only focus.”
Goodden attributes this to the saturation of the Internet across society and the Information Age savvy of a younger generation now moving into corporate management — as well as to the waning importance of traditional newspapers. “Having grown up in an era in which print newspaper circulation has withered along with its role in the nation’s cultural life, corporate managers are less in awe of newsprint.”
And according to Goodden, the Internet’s superior news distribution capabilities, along with a compressed news cycle, are fundamentally changing the way press releases are written.
“Online publications and newsletters that process an increasing volume of news releases often no longer have the time — or the professional staff — to rewrite them as did yesteryear’s editors. Additionally, online news feeds that instantly transmit news to legions of subscribers put a fresh premium on quality writing. Today’s press releases must therefore be news-ready. Those following a traditional format — compiling facts rather than artfully holding the reader’s interest — fail to get noticed,” says Goodden.
He adds that many businesses and even PR professionals remain resistant to the fact that the playing field has shifted and that an artfully constructed phrase or two, a professional gift for clarity, and a human interest angle that grabs the reader’s attention can set apart those press releases that actually get circulated and read.
Goodden sees the press release industry as immune to the reported cuts in advertising outlays by businesses, due to the fact that press releases remain a prime entry point to the Internet and its marketing advantages.
“Marketing is essential — and positioning within the online marketplace can only grow in importance regardless of economic phases.”
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