Long before the emergence of the Internet, press releases were one of the primary tools for announcing newsworthy events for an organization or small business. The process worked something like this: a single press release is written, printed on paper, then mailed (yes, with a stamp) to various newspapers and/or magazines–with the hope that an editor will find it newsworthy. Whether the editor used the press release to write a story or simply printed it outright, you would be able to reach the readers within that publication’s circulation.

Obviously, all that has changed. And that begs the question: are press releases still relevant? In short, the answer is yes.

Today, as a marketer, you have the opportunity to effectively reach a huge target audience online. And although traditional and print media have been declining in popularity in recent years, press releases are still highly relevant as a way to market your business.

Here are three reasons to hit the refresh tab on the old press release:

1. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the process in which you can improve your website’s ranking in search results by using keywords or phrases that are relevant to your site content and target audience. For example, if you have a bike repair shop, your keywords might be “bike repairs” or “fixing a bike.” When used properly within a press release, you can use these keyword to drive relevant traffic to your website.

2. Targeting your audience

Because you can instantaneously change your press release’s content, title or relevant details, you can tailor it to several specific audiences at one time. For example, if you hire an employee from a different country but he is a graduate of your alma mater, you can tailor the release to appeal to newspapers and blogs in his home country and hometown, and then change just a few details to make it relevant to an alumni association publication.

3. Connecting to more information

In addition to having an announcement about your business hit different outlets on the Internet, you give yourself the opportunity to connect the reader to your website via a link embedded in the content. Other interesting links or information about where to get additional information can be easily added, as well. Not only does this demonstrate that you’re staying current, but it also helps build site content, which is key for SEO. This might seem to simple enough, but when you are a small business owner, the small things can get lost in the shuffle.

Although it’s possible for you to write your own press release for your business or organization, in most cases it’s best to work with a professional copywriter. This individual will know how to craft a press release that gets noticed by both members of the media and your target audience.