Today, savvy marketing professionals use press releases to reach buyers directly. Many marketing and PR people understand that press releases sent over the wires appear in near real time on services like Google News. But very few understand the implication that they must dramatically alter their press-release strategy if they are to maximize the effectiveness of the press release as a channel for directly communicating with consumers.

The media has been disintermediated. The Web has changed the rules. Buyers read your press releases directly, and you need to be speaking their language.

This is not to suggest that media relations are no longer important; mainstream media and the trade press must be part of an overall communications strategy. In some businesses, mainstream media and the trade press remain critically important. And, of course, the media still derives some of its content from press releases.

But your primary audience is no longer just a handful of journalists. Your audience is millions of people with Internet connections and access to search engines and RSS readers.

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