Beyond the Press Release

One of the most frequent requests our office receives is: Can I get a press release for this?

The way the BU Public Relations | Social Media office helps promote BU research has evolved beyond a traditional press release to include a broader range of channels and tactics that we’ve found to be more effective in our modern world.

Today, we collaborate with you, the communications contact in your school, college, institute or center and find other channels, tactics, and avenues to share your news with the world and directly with your target audiences.

What’s so bad about a traditional press release?

Nothing! But we found they were becoming less and less effective for our purposes. Wire distribution of press releases was critical when it was difficult to distribute information to a large number of people. However, with today’s technology and media mix, we are able to target and connect with audiences directly, including media, peers, collaborators, influencers, and/or funders. Whether it is via a customized pitch, social media promotion, or blog post, BU is able to reach targeted audiences instantly and easily.

Moving beyond the traditional press release also allows us to connect with audiences in a digitally-first and dynamic way. Perhaps a graphic visualization, video or Q&A is the best method to share your news? Narrative storytelling, like blog posts on your school/college website, BU Today, and The Brink, also helps to bring news and discoveries to life. With these channels, we are able to frame your story and share it with the world.

What has replaced the traditional press release?

Our main vehicles for sharing University-wide institutional news and broad-impact research are BU Today and The Brink. BU Today is our official news website, staffed with professional reporters, producers, photo journalists, and editors. The Brink, a sister publication of BU Today, highlights faculty discoveries, research, scholarship, and expertise throughout BU campuses. Both publications reach internal and external audiences via newsletters, social media distribution, media outreach, paid digital efforts as well as distribution services such as Futurity, AAU and EurekAlert.

The BU Public Relations | Social Media works to connect these channels with intended audiences via customized distribution channels and coordinated embargoed outreach and publication. And, since these multimedia stories are more dynamic, in-depth, and engaging than traditional press releases, they allow us not only to deliver great content directly to the public, but leverage networks as well for increased awareness.

Is there more to do?

Of course! Depending on your news or event, there are many other ways to share your story. From a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) to original content, such as an op-ed or The Conversation article, media interviews, partnership collaborations, video, and photography, our team is here to work with you to understand your goals and recommend ways to connect with your desired audience. For inspiration, learn more about one BU research team’s PR success.

If you have new research or an announcement, please reach out to the BU PR team at 617-353-2240 or

Are there exceptions when a press release is still used?

Press releases can still be helpful in specific disciplines, which is why some of our communication colleagues at individual schools, colleges, centers and institutes employ them as part of their communication toolkit. Each communication department understands their audience and media landscape best. So, while this is our team’s standard practice, other teams may vary their approaches. If you have a question about how your school or college handles press releases and promotions, please reach out to your communication contact at your school, college, institute or center to learn more.