Society for New Communications Research Issues New Whitepaper, “Exploring the ROI of Online Press Releases”

by Jennifer McClure

Study’s Findings to Be Presented in a Webinar & at 3rd Annual SNCR Research Symposium

Online distribution is changing the nature of press releases, re-purposing them into news releases used equally by PR and marketing professionals as a communications tool to reach multiple audiences and to achieve several different goals. As opposed to traditional press releases, which were a channel for communicating with the media, online press releases present the opportunity to reach the public directly, according to a new research study, “Exploring the ROI of Online Press Releases,” sponsored by Vocus and conducted by the Society for New Communications Research.

The full executive summary of the study has been published as a free whitepaper and is available for download at In addition, a paper based on the findings will be published in the upcoming issue of the Society for New Communications Research’s Journal of New Communications Research.

The research sponsor, Vocus, will also present a webinar on the study featuring Shel Holtz and Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, the SNCR Fellows who led the study, along with Jen McClure, SNCR executive director and Jiyan Wei of PR Web/Vocus, titled “Understand the True Value of Online Press Releases.” This FREE webinar will take place on Thursday, October 23rd from 3:00 – 4:00pm ET. Click here for more information and to register.

The full findings of the study will also be presented at the 3rd Annual Society for New Communications Research Symposium, which will be held on November 14th in Cambridge, Mass. Visit for more information and to register.

The purpose of this research study was to identify and analyze current patterns in the uses of online press releases. More than 400 communications professionals responded to an online survey conducted by SNCR in conjunction with TWI Surveys. In addition, SNCR conducted in-depth interviews with PR and marketing professionals, leading to detailed case studies, which will be made available by SNCR in the full research report.

Key Findings include the following:

* The goals for online press releases have expanded beyond the traditional objectives of increasing an organization’s visibility and credibility and announcing news, to include reaching customers directly with marketing and sales messages, creating online content, and search engine optimization (SEO).

* Reaching bloggers and new media outlets has become nearly as important as reaching traditional media.

* The top four measures of success for online press releases include: 1) the number of times the release is republished on websites; 2) the number of times the release is viewed online; 3) the publication of an article based on the release; 4) media interviews resulting from the release.

“With the advent of new online communication channels, the goals, target audiences, and overall scope of press releases have evolved, transforming the press release into a new communication tool used by PR and marketing alike,” noted Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Ph.D. SNCR Fellow, who authored the whitepaper.

“This study has allowed us to examine the changing roles of PR and marketing in the context of how the press release is now being used. This is a vivid example of the converging and evolving nature of the communications profession as the result of new online media and communications channels,” added Shel Holtz, SNCR Founding Fellow.