I often refer to my “previous life” as a journalist and rely upon a good many of those skills I developed over the course of nearly three decades. Lately, I’ve observed a bit of debate among communication professionals regarding the future of the press release.
Some shout, “Strike up the dirge, it’s deaddeaddead!” Others hold steadfast to their practice of pushing out a news release, regardless. If nothing else, they reason, they can post it to free sites and gain a little search engine traction.
I’m reminded of the scene in “The Holy Grail” in which Monty Python parodies the era of the Black Plague … as the “dead wagon” approaches, one potential passenger says, “Hey. I’m not dead yet.”
Indeed, as more tactics of message distribution are added to the list, the importance of the press release has diminished a bit. You can Tweet, Digg, Facebook, Blog, etc. … but certainly, like our dead-wagon-bound-friend, “it’s not dead yet.”
So say two industry bloggers this morning: Rob Berman’s blog, “20 Reasons for Issuing a Press Release” rehashes one of Pickett&Associate’s fav’s, Gini Dietrich’s “Spin Sucks Blog” which I believe I even “re-tweeted” a few weeks ago re: PR vs Publicity.
The reasons are all good, solid ones with which most public relations/communications professionals are familiar — organizational changes, awards, new products, services, business or employees. All fine and encouraged.
However, I will make one observation. A press release should be NEWS worthy; it SHOULD NOT originate from your public relations account manager or internal communications director as a way to “get your name out there.” Here’s another phrase that I disdain: “Repurpose.” Rule of thumb: You should only recycle your trash, not your press releases. Changing the headline and rearranging paragraphs does not a press release (or a blog for that matter) make. And, harkening back to my experience in the newsroom, these practices will NOT make you very popular or trusted among the media, either.
So, the press release? Perhaps it’s “getting bettah.” Especially when used prudently, respectfully and wisely as part of your communication tactics.
Writing this morning from the “Arklatex” region … Evidently, that’s what they call this area of northwestern Louisiana in which Shreveport is located. Last stop on the “tour” … back home to the Midwest tonight. But in the meantime, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”