Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2023 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2023. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was, something we’ve been saying for four years straight now…) from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year. Sit up, get your beverage of choice ready, and let’s celebrate some data and look forward to the year ahead.
Press Release Statistics
On the seventh day of the 12 Days of Data, we dig into the press release, or news release. How many releases happened in 2023? What did they accomplish? Thanks to the Google News database and the GDELT Project, we are able to read all the press releases in 2023.
This year, we saw 191,900 news releases from the Google News database.
When we dig down to the monthly level, we see what’s essentially a multi-year fading in the number of releases, a slow decline from the heady days of 2018 when organizations would send out close to 50,000 releases a month. This year, it’s hovered around 17K per month:
What can we tell about the importance of press releases? How impactful are they?
We use the Goldstein Scale, which is a measure of news importance, especially around conflict, to judge the impact of news releases. We see that press releases generally have Goldstein Scale scores at 3 or below; on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is completely unimportant and 10 is major news, news releases still aren’t showing up as particularly important compared to other news.
Let’s take a look at the measures of relevance – the number of mentions, sources, and articles that press releases have been in.
What we find is that the average press release earns 7.16 mentions, an increase of 13.6% from the previous year, 1 source (the publication it’s published in, usually), and 7 articles/prints of itself; the median numbers are lower.
What do we make of this data? Each individual statistic isn’t particularly helpful by itself, but in aggregate, this paints a picture of a very changed public relations profession. It would appear, at least in terms of volume, that press releases aren’t particularly noticed as news by other sources.
Press releases and news releases still have a role to play, especially in highly-regulated industries. Financial services and investment firms subject to rules such as SEC Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) still hold the newswire release to be the gold standard of acceptable public disclosure; while the SEC ruled that social media was an acceptable form of disclosure in years past, the nature of social network algorithms could potentially imperil that ruling in the years to come (not to mention the hot mess that some social networks have become over the last year. If you have news to distribute that requires public disclosure in a time-tested (and more importantly, court-tested) manner, use a press release.
With major disruptions in social media, such as the change in management at Twitter and the subsequent erosion of trust for the service, if you want unimpeachable public distribution of news, use a press release.
Now, in the past we’ve said that for getting news out, the press release may not be the most effective tool. That’s still true, especially in an age of shrinking newsrooms. And it has long been disproven that press releases have any impact on SEO. They have no material impact on SEO results.
What has changed in the last year that revives the venerable press release as a valid marketing tactic is… (you guessed it) generative AI! Press release archives are part of the training datasets that large language model makers use to train their models on; services like ChatGPT draw from the statistical representations made of that data.
What does that mean? If there’s a topic you want to be known for, ensuring that you have press releases on any of the major wire services will add to the total amount of text on the public Internet that associates you with your topic of choice.
So what? Consider issuing press releases that are AI-optimized to help your brand gain just a little bit more traction in large language models. There’s less competition every month in terms of the raw number of press releases being issued, and yet we know that language models are ingesting them like crazy.
Read the 12 Days of Data 2023 Series
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 1: Private Social Media Communities
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 2: Instagram for Brands
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 3: Instagram for Influencers
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 4 Global ChatGPT Conversations
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 5: Content Republishing
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 6: Top News Stories of 2023
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 7: Press Release Statistics of 2023
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 8: The Marketing Jobs Outlook
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 9: The 2023 Economy Big Picture
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 10: Creator Platforms For Monetization
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 11: Twitter Alternatives and Social Media
- 12 Days of Data 2023 Day 12: Top Songs on Spotify Playlists
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