It’s true. We were surprised too. Press releases are the most trusted source of company-generated news, according to a study we did in partnership with GMI Lightspeed of 1,000 Americans ages 18+.
Press releases won by a long shot – 33% of respondents trust them the most, followed by articles authored by the CEO (16%), blog posts by the CEO (4%) and advertisements (3%).
The trust factor varies by age. Younger audiences trust blog posts a bit more (11% of 18-34 vs. 0% of 55 or older) and articles by the CEO (23% of those 18-34 vs. 9% of those 55 and older) more than older audiences. They also put more trust in company-generated news overall – about 30-32% of those 18 to 34 do not trust any source of company-generated news. Older audiences are more skeptical.
What does this mean? Press releases, while less common these days for technology startups in particular, are still important PR tools (and they are required public disclosure vehicles for public companies). Over time though, they have become more marketing brochure than news vehicle and this evolution has lessened their impact. Press releases were designed to be news articles that could be printed in a newspaper, and they have veered a long way from that original purpose. For more, see our post, 9 Tips for Retooling the Press Release to its Intended Audience: The Press. We believe this important shift in tone and content will only continue.
We asked questions about lots of other topics – from Buzzfeed, to Facebook, email versus social media and preferred news outlets. You can view the full results in our ebook, Read It, Watch It, or Tweet It – How Americans Read and Share News.
Beth co-founded InkHouse in 2007 with Meg O’Leary, and together they have grown it into one of the fastest growing PR firms in the nation. Beth directs media and content strategy for innovative companies, both large and small. A widely cited expert, Beth recommends PR programs rooted in thoughtful viewpoints and authentic storytelling. She believes that PR measurement is imperative, that great stories start with why not what, and that press releases should be news stories not marketing collateral. Her views have been featured in Boston.com, Business Insider, PR Week, the Associated Press, PR News, Ragan’s PR Daily, Bulldog Reporter, among others. Outside and inside the office, Beth is a passionate advocate for equality. She served as an appointee to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Women in the Workplace Task Force and sits on the Women’s Network Advisory Board for the Boston Chamber of Commerce. Her views about strategies for building women’s workplace confidence have been featured in TIME, Forbes, NPR and NBC News. Beth sits on the board of directors of Xconomy, an online publication dedicated to the high-tech economy, and is also a member of the Director’s Circle for GrubStreet, one of the nation’s leading creative writing centers.