Good posting today in one of my favorite blogs, PR-Squared, titled "End of Days" for the 100-Year-Old Press Release .
It's the usual banter about the death of the traditional press release, what Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher calls "delete-on-receipt" releases. Hopefully, not all journalists feel the same way as Tom does.
As we've stated numerous times, the press release is not dead or even dying. It is in transition and adapting to technology's impact on how we communicate. A good journalist will always seek out information and be in need of news and story ideas. And as long as this is the case, the press release will serve a purpose - it just may not look like your father's press release. As for Tom Foremski's "delete-on-receipt" comment, every journalist (and analyst) has a preference for how they like to receive news or pitches. If Tom thinks the press releases is not effective or useful, then don't send him one (actually, he does want to receive press releases, but in a "media ready" format). Understanding your audience is step one in media relations. I know of several CEO's that "don't do email". Does that mean email in the executive suite is dead? Of course not.
We posted a blog in August of 2005 titled "Cost of Writing a Press Release? An hour. Value? Priceless." In this posting, we said (there is much more to the posting):
"........What's interesting is contrary to what many marketing experts predicted, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed much over the years, nor do they vary between companies in different markets or of different sizes. Only the budgets do. The activities, [press releases, direct marketing, event participation, speaking, white papers, byline placements, webinars and advertising] work as well today as they did 50 years ago. What has changed is how technology redefines and impacts the execution of these activities. For example, Blogs and search engine optimization (SEO) didn’t exist a few years ago but are now core components of any marketing initiative. Yes, Webinars are new but that is just a variation of event participation, Pay-per-click is just a variation of advertising and eNewsletters are just a variation of direct marketing.....".
While we wait for the "traditional" press release to be redefined for the next 50 years, here are a few guidelines to keep you current:
1. Know your audience and how they like to receive news. And respect their wishes. Media database services like HRmarketer will do a lot of this research for you.
2. When emailing "traditional" press releases direct to journalists, include a few introductory sentences explaining why the release is newsworthy. Don't just send a release and don't be promotional. Also include links to supporting information.
3. Regardless of whether you email the release direct to journalists, ALWAYS send the release as a "Marketing" press release (also known as Media Ready or Social Media releases). These releases are sent direct to the Internet in HTML format, contain search optimized hyperlinks and tags, news images and photos. The releases end up in search engine results, news portals, blogs, are syndicated via RSS, and many journalist's also opt-in to receive them directly.
4. Select 2-10 key journalists and bloggers relevant to your company and work very hard to build a relationship with them. It may take months or even years but it is well worth your time.