Noted in BtoB magazine, research by a professor at Clemston University, US found the method used had never been considered as a marketing tool before.
As part of ROI of Online Press Releases, Mihaela Vorvoreanu, assistant professor of communication studies at the institution, said news releases are also being used for "driving clickthroughs to their websites".
She added in the article: "Marketing has hijacked the traditional press release and repurposed it."
However, the use of news releases as a tool can have unforeseen negative consequences, Ms Vorvoreanu added.
When poorly targeted, or incorrectly worded or distributed, they won’t achieve the marketing strategy’s search engine marketing efforts and could harm brand image, she told the magazine.
In other news, an Ofcom poll has found online marketing accounts for 19 per cent of total advertising in the UK.
The figure puts the country at the highest among the countries surveyed.