Press Release: Alive and Well and Kicking

R.I.P the press release? Don’t believe it.   More press releases are sent today than ever.

Journalists have complained for decades that too many press releases cross their desk.  Yet with shrinking newsrooms, more of their news hole,  online and off, is filled with content provided by press releases.   Last year one study showed that press releases have surpassed trade press as primary news sources online, an apparent vote of confidence in them by info consumers.

Some blogs continue to bemoan press releases as ineffective, wasteful and spammy, suggesting in the same breath that the social media press release is a panacea to perceived troubles.   While many releases should never hit the wire or anywhere else,  don’t count on the “traditional” press release getting dumped any time soon because the fact is, press releases WORK.

As for the social media news release, is a new format really the answer to what seems to be a question of information overload?  Or is an SMR, done properly, simply another blog post?

Too many releases are bloated with self-promoting language, jargon, and, unfortunately, legally required language that makes for dull reading and a treasure hunt for news.  In fact, at Business Wire, we refuse releases every day of the week and refer senders of inappropriate content to our competitors.  ;-) 

Ultimately, having something to say has more to do with success than the technology used to send your message, a point well-made in an eloquent essay by Online Spin’s Joe Marchese.   Sometimes we get so hung up on technology we forget that the old-fashioned who, what, where, when, why and how will earn you lots of respect.  Sticking to facts, limiting hyperbole and jargon, and sending the release to those who will find it relevant  also scores you points.

No doubt good technology can help get a good message to more people faster, and in that department the evolution continues.    Business Wire has been offering multimedia press releases since 1997.   Our patented N/X technology delivers content in tagged data packets that are easy to sort, repackage and aggregate — in the same way that the SMR template hopes to tag relevant facts for easy reconfiguring.   Business Wire’s XHTML delivery helps maintain the attractive formatting — bullets, tables, boldface, italics and foreign characters — our clients work so hard to create.

In a way, XHTML is its own SEO since it makes the content more readable to the end user — and isn’t getting people to read your stuff what this is all about?

6 Responses to Press Release: Alive and Well and Kicking

  1. Mark Rose says:

    Monika:

    Thanks for forwarding the dialogue on this important issue. For this discussion, let’s call the Social Media Press Release the New Media Release (NMR), since it is not social unto itself. Maybe the NMR can co-exist with the traditional press release since they have different audiences and different intended results.

    The NMR is intended for bloggers, consumers or business partners, search engines, anyone or anything that searches the Net for information. It’s structure and intent is purely for digital communication, archive, and retrieval.

    The traditional press release is often crafted by committee, vetted by corporate and legal, sometimes obligated by compliance issues. Or it can be ‘manufactured’ news (soft news) or information about a current news event. It is a flat, one-way communication that is not meant to be interactive. It’s a statement.

    The NMR, as I see it, should have a dedicated url with all the elements necessary for digital journalists to quickly fill a story: audio, visual, textual, pdf docs, logo, links. It makes it much easier for reporters if they don’t have to root around, and it can be an informational landing page for other constituents – AND it is SEO rich. Thankfully, we are beginning to see more examples of successful NMRs.

    I am glad that BusinessWire is in the middle of this conversation. There’s a lot to figure out. Mark Rose, Rose Public Relations

  2. Joel Tesch says:

    While it seems to be trendy in some circles these days to dismiss the press release as being “dead”…what I believe online journalists and bloggers are really saying is that there are too many press releases that aren’t useful. While all the new tools and technology at our disposal are exciting, the basic fundamentals of writing and journalism can’t be overlooked…it’s all about the content. SEO, XHTML, multimedia, etc. are all tools that serve to enhance the message of a press release…but are not meant to be replacements for the message. Press releases will always be needed in order to frame the “story” of the announcement…and place the news in it’s proper context. So while I totally disagree with the thought that the press release is dead, it certainly IS changing and becoming something much more dynamic, interactive and effective!

  3. [...] of course they are going to say that, right? The post goes over a lot of points, so I wanted to address a few and offer my [...]

  4. Thanks for continuing the conversation, I’ve put some of my thoughts on my blog (I think it trackbacked in the comments as well). I think the disconnect is how and why news releases are used…and for that matter the semantic debate between the words “press” and “news”.

    Joel is right, the release is not dead, but it needs to be completely different these days if you are going to tell an effective story.

    /kff

  5. [...] Press Release Debate ContinuesBusinessWire expressed their opinion in a post on their blog.  This post was a bit dated by the time it came across our desks but [...]

  6. [...] would society be without the old press release? Believe it or not, according to BusinessWired, more press releases are sent today than ever.  Throughout the years, while many have argued that [...]

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