Those learned soles in PR agencies have forever been touting the advantages to colleagues and clients of NOT sending press releases.

In their research, HubSpot estimated nearly 50,000 press releases are issued every month. Roughly one every 12 seconds. So on to the big question: is it worth it?

Do press releases generate publicity? That really depends on your definition of publicity. If publicity for you is any website that publishes your release, then releases are very effective. If on the other hand you consider mainstream news media to be your target, you’re probably not going to have much luck with press releases.

Do journalists read releases? According to the PRWeek/PR Newswire 2009 Media Survey, 38% of journalists look at opt-in press releases from commercial newswires when researching topics and writing stories, and 27% search the websites of commercial newswire services.

But are press releases the most effective way to generate publicity? The short answer is no. According to the 2009 Media Survey, 90% of journalists prefer email pitches over every other media. If email is the top way that journalists like to receive information, then a press release isn’t the best way to get their attention. True, a release could be excellent supplemental information to use in supplement to an email, but it should replace your pitch. A well-crafted and brief pitch letter sent via email can be far more effective at getting a journalist’s attention.