Press releases and public relations (PR) both involve the art and science of building brand awareness and affinity for your small business. They‘re your best chance of gaining media coverage to build brand credibility and keep you in control of your brand’s public narrative. Read on for more than a dozen press release statistics you can use to power your media and PR strategies.
1. 20% of journalists consider press releases the #1 most trustworthy source of information
When you send a press release to the media, there’s a good chance journalists will find your information trustworthy. Because press releases come straight from a source (i.e., your business), journalists generally find them credible. In fact, according to PR statistics from Cision, 20% of journalists found press releases the most trustworthy source of information, just behind major newswires (such as AP News and Bloomberg) and industry experts.
Even for journalists who don’t find press releases the number one most credible source of information, they still rank among the top three: the survey also found that 17% found press releases as the second and third most reliable sources. This data only underlines the consistent relevance of press releases in gaining press coverage.
Pro tip: Press releases require a certain skill to get right. To ensure you get a professionally written, industry-level press release, leave your press release writing to the experts—check out our guide to the best press release writing services for small businesses.
2. 59% of journalists find media releases more useful than any other PR asset
Public relations encompasses many strategies and assets, from press conferences to media kits. However, 59% of journalists find media releases the most useful PR asset of them all—far higher than article pitches at 13% and even press kits, which only garnered 9% of votes. Only 8% of journalists found all PR assets to be of equal importance.
3. 57% of journalists block contacts sending overly promotional story pitches
It isn’t enough to just create a press release—how it’s written also matters. While press releases are an effective way to establish and grow your brand presence, they should, first and foremost, be a newsworthy story, not a marketing pitch. Cision’s press release statistics also found that 57% of journalists will block contacts who send overly promotional press releases that sound more like marketing brochures than news stories.
This means that if your press release is written with more promotions than facts, there’s a more than 50% chance you could lose your media connections. Being overly promotional is just one blunder you can avoid. Read our list of common press release mistakes to avoid when pitching to journalists.
4. 33% of small business marketers found positive results from using AI in PR
There’s no question that artificial intelligence (AI) has completely changed the playing field for virtually all aspects of marketing. According to public relations statistics from Prowly, 33% of marketers and PR professionals from small businesses found positive results from using AI tools, especially in automating tasks to improve efficiency. They mostly used AI to help generate ideas and content and for research.
However, marketers also agree that AI isn’t without its risks. Nearly 70% said their biggest concern with incorporating AI in PR work was data manipulation and fake news. To avoid mistakes, read our guide on what AI content marketing is and the best practices when using AI to write PR and press release content.
Pro tip: AI can help automate and streamline many marketing tasks, including creating a full-length, professional press release. We’ve listed the best AI press release generators for small businesses.
5. A relevant press release subject is 13% more important than good media relationships in securing press coverage
While maintaining good relationships with the press is beneficial, a relevant and newsworthy press release subject is still the most important factor in securing its publication. According to PR statistics, 33% of PR professionals say a press release subject relevant to journalists is the most important factor in ensuring its publication, higher by 13% than maintaining good relationships with the press.
6. 90% of press releases are pitched to online media outlets
Digitalization is everywhere, including in press releases. As of 2023, 90% of all press releases are sent to online or digital media outlets, a 14% increase from last year alone. In contrast, magazines only received 66% of press release pitches, and TV stations even lower at 52%.
These PR stats are both a benefit and a disadvantage. While online press releases becoming the norm means an easier and more efficient distribution process, it also means stiffer competition than on other media channels.
Pro tip: Need a press release distribution service that won’t break your budget? Discover the best free press release distribution services to get your story publicity at no cost.
7. 32% of top-performing press releases are product or service launches
While there are dozens of different types of press releases, the most effective are product or service launches. Out of Cision’s highest-performing press releases in the first half of 2022, 32% were announcements of product or service launches. These were much higher than other types, such as company acquisitions and partnerships.
These press release stats show that the general public is more interested in news that impacts them directly, rather than corporate stories with little direct relevance. Our article detailing how to get a story on the local news covers more ways to effectively pitch your story so that it gets picked up by the media.
8. 63% of journalists value event announcements most from press releases
While audiences generally read press releases about product launches most, journalists’ preferences seem to differ. According to Cision’s public relations industry analysis, 63% of journalists say the best PR pitches are event press releases and media announcements. In contrast, only 33% found product launches as the most valuable press release pitches.
However, the survey also found that journalists find other uses for press releases beyond sourcing news content: they also use them to find new sources, gain exclusive info, and for fact-checking, among others.
The key takeaway from these press release statistics is to make your press release as informative as possible, e.g., by always including resource persons and a boilerplate section. Learn more about what makes a good press release.
Did you know? Press releases are intended for public information, whereas a media advisory is a type of press release targeted to journalists themselves. Ideally, you’ll use both when promoting a story about your business that includes an in-person or virtual event.
9. The best time to send press releases is on Tuesday mornings
According to press release data from Muck Rack, 53% of PR professionals prefer to send press releases on Tuesdays, and 81% send them out before noon, as most people check their email in the morning. Keep these press release statistics and press release best practices in mind when you send your announcement—chances are, journalists are more likely to open and read them.
Mass distribution through paid services offers the widest coverage, but it’s not the only way to get your story to the media. Read up on how to distribute a press release for more ways to maximize reach for your announcement.
10. Most marketers send no more than 10 press releases per month
When sending press releases, a good frequency is to send between one and 10 per month. According to PR statistics, nearly 48% of marketers send no more than that monthly. This is a considerable decrease from the previous year, when some companies published press releases nearly every day. This signals that businesses are increasingly taking more time to plan and craft press releases, and are only sending them to share the most newsworthy information.
11. The average cost of a press release writing service is $158
Having your press release written by PR industry experts increases your chances of getting additional media coverage. On average, most press release writing rates start at $158. Many of these services also offer mass distribution services, and some even offer multiple press releases.
For more on the cost of professional PR writing, check out our guide to the best press release writing services.
12. The ideal length of a press release is 300 to 400 words
When writing press releases, a rule of thumb is to keep them between 300 and 400 words. According to press release statistics from industry leaders, that’s the ideal average press release word count.
Press releases follow an industry standard, so it’s important to remember best practices. Follow AP style press release guidelines, keep all your content within a single page (hence around 300 to 400 words), and start with the most essential info on top, followed by supporting details.
And, don’t forget your logo on the header and company info on the boilerplate. Learn more about the proper press release formatting.
13. Press releases with multiple images get up to 6x more engagement
You probably already know that images and videos can increase your engagement on social media, but the same also holds true for press releases. Studies found that press releases with multiple images get up to six times more engagement than those with only text. Meanwhile, including a video can get you three times more engagement.
It’s no wonder: Research has long proven that more than 50% of the information our brain processes is visual. When creating your press release, keep a good balance of text, images—and even video if applicable—to present your information in the most effective way.
14. 72% of marketers say the #1 metric in determining a press release’s success is the number of media placements it gets
Once you’ve sent your press release to journalists, the next step is to keep track of its effectiveness. This is done by monitoring press release stats such as open rates, reach, or media mentions.
However, 72% of marketers agree that the most important metric in determining your press release’s success is the number of media placements it gets, according to PR statistics from Prowly. Beyond media placements, other important metrics journalists use to track success are the number of online mentions (71%), audience reach (65%), and site traffic (57%).
15. 36% of consumers prefer learning about new products through online search
Here’s another press statistic in favor of sending press releases: a study by HubSpot found that 36% of consumers prefer learning about new products from online searches. This is higher than other channels, including social media, which only garnered 17% of votes.
Plus, this preference was also consistent across all generations, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers. If your press release gets covered by online media, there’s a good chance your audience will discover it.
16. Press releases build brand visibility by up to 68%
Press releases remain generally effective at increasing businesses’ brand visibility by up to 68%, according to PR Cision’s 2021 State of the Press report. They can also increase your brand’s credibility with audiences, maintain good relationships with the press, and improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and lead generation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are press releases effective?
Yes. Press releases offer an effective way to promote your brand without being overly promotional. As such, they come across as an objective source of truth, increasing not only your brand’s visibility (especially with mass distribution) but also its credibility.
How do you track press release performance?
You can track press release performance by monitoring its metrics, such as the number of media placements it gets, the number of times your brand is mentioned in the media, and the site traffic your story generates. Other metrics to watch out for are your click and engagement rates and backlinks. Most press release services include these metrics as part of their services, usually via dashboards or emailed reports.
What makes a successful press release?
A successful press release is one that is picked up and published by many media outlets and receives high click and engagement rates from its target audience. They usually rank high on search engines and generate several backlinks and brand mentions. Successful press releases eventually lead to an increased brand presence and credibility, and, eventually, more leads and customers.
Press releases have long been one of the most tried-and-true assets of marketing and public relations. That holds true to this day, even in a world of all things digital—the press release statistics above are proof of that. Press releases are an effective and accessible way to get your business in front of wider audiences, disseminate announcements, and increase your brand credibility. Use the PR statistics above as a guide to craft press releases that make an impact.