• The press release is dead - long live the press release

    The press release is dead - long live the press release

    Media relations have never just been about the press release. The press conference and the photo / photocall have been its frequent companions. Nurturing contacts, briefings and interviews have long been commonplace too.

    Though, the written press release has been the number one, ‘go-to’ tool in the media relations professional’s kit since Ivy Ledbetter Lee sent what is believed to be the first one in 1906. Ask any news editor. They’ll still be receiving hundreds daily.

    But, times they are a-changing. Or, to be accurate, times have been a-changing for some time. And the pace of change is accelerating.

    Good PR practitioners are using social media to pitch stories to journalist. They’re briefing bloggers and social media influencers to get their message across. PR practitioners have also increasingly become social media and SEO advisers, content marketers, and video producers.

    So the press release is dead then?

    Well, no. It may no longer be omnipresent. But don’t consign it to the dustbin just yet. If it’s well written and well-targeted, it still has its place. Particularly with a bit of a makeover. And here are just a few ways we’re keeping it relevant:

    • Audio – a short clip of a client talking about their new product, report, service or initiative can be very useful. Not only can it help generate radio coverage. If uploaded to Audioboo and a link included in the email to journalists, it can also be embedded into online stories. It can also of course be useful content for ‘owned media’

    • Video – the same principle applies here, except you get pictures as well as sound :) If it’s a release about a new product or something technical, a demonstration video can work well

    • Writing press releases that appeal directly to the ‘buyer’ – it used to be that only editors and journalists saw press releases, but in the digital age of ‘owned media’, the target audience is going to see the press release too

    • Facts – including lots of tweetable facts can be an effective way to generate social media engagement

    • Getting it online and distributing it through social media channels, mentioning relevant parties involved in the release where appropriate to generate retweets. Also telling the story in a series of tweets

    • Slides – if it’s something that can be illustrated with a series of slides (a survey or report for instance), adding them to SlideShare (like below) and putting a link in the press release for journalists to view and online journalists to link to can be very useful. In fact, any links to ‘rich assets’ are generally worthwhile