Press releases are starting to earn a reputation of being over-the-hill; an outbound communications tactic that journalists ignore and that many marketers believe are no longer effective. While the traditional press release, where a company mass-messages its latest announcements to members of the media, may be going out of style, there are still ways to use a press release that will improve your online reputation. Here’s how the new implementation of the press release can play a part in online reputation management:

They’re a Great Addition to Your Media Kit

A media kit is a page on your website that details all the information a journalist or blogger might need regarding your company. It’s more than an about page or a contact page because a good media kit would also include things like a logo to download, short bios of your executives, your latest product and services updates, case studies, testimonials, and specific contact information to a marketing or public relations person, among other things. It’s meant to be a place where the press can verify important information about your company, and it’s also a great place to feature recent press releases.

By featuring press releases here, it can help you control the media’s narrative about your company. Because your media kit highlights your brand’s most recent events and accomplishments, journalists and bloggers on tight deadlines usually will just take the information that is most easily accessible to them. If that information comes from your media kit, then it will influence their article and give it a position that is favorable towards your business. A steady stream of new press releases in your media kit shows that your brand is growing, and making progress, increasing the odds that your stories and latest accomplishments are featured by the press.

They’re Can Be Utilized for Damage Control

If your company winds up facing a negative media crisis, such as a data breach that compromises the user information of your customers, then a press release is still one of the best tools for damage control. It can compete against a rant on a major blog or a critique in a notable outlet like the Huffington Post because it carries credibility that can enable your brand to get ahead of the story and to explain things from your perspective. Also, a press release can be emailed or shared on social networks instead of, or in addition to, posting a response from your account directly. Having an official press release offers more clout than an explanation that is only posted on Twitter or Facebook, and it can also supplement a direct email from your CEO if necessary. In this case, the press release is just one component of the content marketing approach necessary for damage control, but plays a crucial part because press releases still have authority.

Speaking of SEO, Press Releases Rank on Search Engines

Press releases will still rank for your company name and other branded keywords, so they are useful to publish if there is outdated or negative information circulating online about your brand. Press releases can be useful in this case because they can help drive those negative articles off of the first page of various search engines and instead be replaced with the positive version of the story you want to tell.

They shouldn’t be used to respond to complaints listed on a review site or to respond with negative information of your own about a critic or a competitor though. Those issues are too small and are better left for customer service. The main goal with press releases, in this case, is to create positive information that will rank on search engines before the negative content. If you respond to the negativity, or create negativity of your own, then it will often do more harm than good by drawing more attention to the controversy instead of pushing it off of the first page.

Also, you need to be weary of who’s writing the negative information about your company. Sometimes it’s written by a competitor, or even by online reputation management companies who plant negative information so they can then be paid to remove it. Press releases should be used to show what your company is doing well and should offer positive information. There are enough places online for negative stories, but that kind of material should not come from you.

Despite what some marketing experts may say about writing press releases, they don’t hurt your brand if they are well-written and if they offer something newsworthy to the media. If your press releases accomplishes both of these things, then they can be tremendously helpful in your online reputation management.

What is a positive story your company has had recently that it could create a press release about? Share it with us in the comments!