Traditional Versus Media Rich Press Releases. And the Winner is..........

A recent article in PRWeek stated that 75% of journalists prefer media-rich releases - what many refer to as a social media press release (SMPR). The SMPR advocate (some may say activist) blog PR Squared (an outstanding blog by the way), was quick to refer to this statistic as evidence that the traditional release should be replaced by the SMPR.

The more I follow the debate between SMPR or traditional press releases, the more I realize it's over. Of course SMPR's are better but I believe many proponents of SMPR's are making a big deal out of what is really only an enhancement to the way press releases are delivered and structured.

In other words, like it has done for every other part of business and society, the Internet is changing PR.

I believe the "traditional" press release, defined by how it is written, will not change all that much the next few years and I'm not yet convinced it should. Many journalists and news outlets rely on the content-heavy traditional releases for their story content.

What will change is the need for companies to provide a link within the release to supporting information including photos, additional quotes, videos, etc. The link should take people to the company's news media page where the press release is stored along with this supporting information - and offer the ability to sign up for an RSS feed, DIGG it, etc.

In other words, a SMPR. Yes, you can send an email to journalists in HTML format that resembles your SMPR news page (with supporting information) but this has some drawbacks.

The point is to provide all these extras (where appropriate) to make the journalist's job easier. It's not a big deal. It's just leveraging the power of the Internet by restructuring how the press release is presented, not necessarily how it is written - journalists will never 100% agree on the ideal format, and some journalists still prefer faxes!

What's getting lost in this debate is the importance of search optimizing those press releases (SMPR or traditional), which is arguably more important to some companies than how their release is written. And we admit, we're advocates (activists) of this.

Posted by Mark Willaman

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