No. Press releases are not dead… yet.
Despite losing their relevance, they’re still alive for one reason – the distribution system, aka the press release wire services (Quora thread: Which press release wire services are popular and why?) – a well established / adopted system for dissemination of press releases to a large number of news outlets world-wide that scales well.
For e.g. the Business Wire. Here’s how it works (Source: Wikipedia)
Business Wire is a company that disseminates full-text news releases from thousands of companies and organizations worldwide to news media, financial markets, disclosure systems, investors, information web sites, databases and other audiences.
The company distributes news via its own electronic network,
NX, developed by its in-house tech team using XML/NewsML. It also has carriage agreements with major news agencies, including the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Reuters, Thomson One, and some 60 regional news agencies to deliver content directly into their newsroom editorial systems.
The only other way you distribute press releases is to email them directly to journalists, but in that area the blog post with multimedia elements, near real-time updates and the ability to make edits after publishing, etc. has got them beat.
Speaking of corporate blogs, their strengths include their ability to target the long tail of niche audiences (think TechCrunch for tech, Engadget for gadgets, Huffington Post for politics etc.) way better than press releases. There are also numerous other benefits like SEO (which press releases try to mimic), the social aspect of corporate blog posts (commenting, building communities who care for the product), and most importantly the human element (a post from a the product manager who created the feature vs. a corporate template that announces it with a quote) makes corporate blog posts way more effective.
At the end of the day though, news is most effectively shared through a trusted relationship network, whether it’s in the blogosphere or in the news world.
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