One reason press releases have changed in 2015 is that public relations and the public has changed. In the 1920s, headlines for press releases were in the style of radio broadcasts.

Press Releases Then and Now

Here’s a headline from October 1929 from a Brooklyn Daily Eagle NY newspaper: “Wall Street In Panic As Stocks Crash.” In the 1940s, headlines reflected current events and political figures.

Press releases after the 1960s tended to rely on catch phrases and acronyms. The content of press releases changed from a regimented style utilizing the typical, “Who, What, When, Where and Why” to today’s freer style of press releases focused mainly on the subject followed by added information.

This example of press releases at present is from the New York Post’s February 2015 Business section report on the Doral Bank in Puerto Rico: The first sentence contains information about the FDIC shut down of the bank before it goes into details about the location or the amount of deposits and assets.

Public relations changed to adapt to the public’s desire to get to the heart of a news or press release quickly. Public interest in press releases demands a format that meets with the public’s scanning style of reading and selecting keywords quickly.

Social Media Changes Press Releases

Depending on the venue used to announce press releases, there’s a need to format public relations and press releases to conform to demands of search engines and social media like Twitter. A press release in 2015 is formatted to include keywords users access via search engines quickly. Keyword use in press releases is the mechanism that creates faster online visibility. Use of unique keywords in headlines and content increases traffic to a website. Press release content needs to contain sufficient quantities of keywords without appearing “stuffed” and/or difficult to read. For Twitter, for example, the amount of content is limited by the number of words allowed in a “tweet.” In this example, hash tags often are an identifying link to the content of the press release. The hash tag becomes a preview of the content.

Capturing Public Attention

The other part of a case study of the state of the press release in 2015 is that the ability to capture public attention. It’s more difficult than in the past due to greater competition for media visibility. With an increased number of media outlets, online and social media venues, press releases must offer instant news with lightening speed.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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