Press Release: Alive and Well and Kicking

June 6, 2007

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?


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