Take the press release out of the coffin, and put the debate in it ...

Posted on August 14, 2014

Take the press release out of the coffin, and put the debate in it ...

By Paul Fulton, Jr., Vice President

Every industry has pundits, and public relations has its fair share. With the proliferation of social media, digital media and mobile devices, the pundit Rolodex has expanded to include a wider net of communicators.

It’s impossible to ignore the evolution that has occurred within our industry. And if you listen to the pundits, there’s a lot of hand-wringing over its changing landscape.

One debate that can’t be avoided is the viability of the press release – the tool that makes us cringe when friends ask if we “write press releases” and simultaneously leap for joy when the story it tells lands on the home page and in primetime news. (And is then re-tweeted, shared on Facebook, spread on LinkedIn groups, and so on.).

The press release is not dead. In fact, it’s time to take the press release out of the coffin and put this “debate” in it. 

The press release is very much alive – journalists still need information to tell a good story. And a good press release presents compelling, story-ready information that’s easy for journalists to report in a way that connects to their audiences’ interests. 

And, if anything, the lifespan of the press release is longer than ever before.

Let’s use a software launch as an example. Solid technical briefs are usually developed for prospective customers, but value propositions that are most likely to capture the attention of more general audiences are often buried – and a reporter is not going to read through a technical brief to find them.

In the real world, there isn’t always time to go through long messaging exercises – especially not when a competitor seems to be cranking out fresh news and content every day. 
But a quick message-distillation exercise with the client will typically uncover the most important take-aways – and even uncover new ones – that become the platform of a very strong press release. And a blog. And social media content. And an infographic. And a video. And marketing collateral. And an email marketing campaign.

The cumulative effect bolsters a company’s reputation and, most importantly, influences purchasing audiences through media coverage and other channels. In short, the press release is not dead – it’s actually more crucial than ever before.


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