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The Passé Press Release and Other Stories

The landscape of public relations has changed dramatically in the past decade. Old PR and distribution techniques won’t really cut it anymore. In place of the pitch letter and a list of editorial contacts are more tech-savvy ways of connecting with audiences across the interwebs.

Blogging is en vogue but does that mean that press releases are now passé?

It seems that every few years you read about how the press release is dead (or dying). But somehow, it never goes away completely. There are still many PR firms who will tell you that the press release is alive and well and they even have “Ten Reasons to Send [One]” in support of this claim.

However, the blog post is overshadowing the press release. Rather than rely solely on the cornerstone of old-school PR, I say utilize social media and blogs in conjunction with the press release to disseminate your news.

Key Things to Consider

The Personal Touch

Press releases tend to be canned responses from the CEO or marketing team. Blog posts, on the other hand, can be informal, personal, and impassioned. They always take a conversational tone that people relate to and engage with. You know that buzzword “authenticity”? As the marketing landscape continues to evolve it become more obvious that that’s what people want. An honest blog helps put a face to the organization and is an opportunity for connecting with bigger audiences who crave authentic companies.

If you are launching a great new product you should be excited about it, right? Why damper that excitement in a stuffy press release when a blog post with some personality is likely to get more reads and shares? You can share the same news but do so by addressing the problem and then offering how your company is going to solve it. People on the web are looking to connect with brands and a personal blog post can be perfect for creating that connection.

Relevance Trumps Reach

Reaching a lot of people sounds great but really you want to be making a presence where your audience actually is. Getting a major outlet (e.g. The New York TImes) to pick up your content actually doesn’t carry much weight anymore – not if your audience never visits the site or picks up a copy to read.

Brand ambassadors and social media reign these days, not the press release. It’s not just about the number of followers you and your company have but instead about their magnitude of influence. Quality over quantity any day!

Releases are one component of a larger storytelling strategy

For certain clients, we do still encourage the use of news releases, but as one small part of a media push. I view the press release as a way to position yourself/your brand/your company in a different light than what you might put forward on social media or in a blog post. That does not mean, however, that one has to comply with the traditional PR conventions. Rather, you need to approach it with a slightly more professional tone that you would, say, a blog, but keep it interesting, keep it friendly, and stay away from canned, overly edited responses.

You can expect more from me soon about the collaboration between PR and social media. 

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