The Press Release: Time Not Well Spent

The fine folks over at the Marketing Profs Daily blog have an informative post today listing six telltale signs a company’s press release is full of BS (or, as Opie & Anthony would phrase it, “Bravo Sierra.” Look it up in the Brady Bunch encyclopedia if you need to).

The list is spot-on. Too often, companies waste enormous amounts of energy and budget spinning their wheels to get a press release onto PR Newswire or BusinessWire. The press release — whether in its traditional form or its Web 2.x form — is a lazy pro’s PR tactic (although I think the ideas behind the new media releases have some merit, not as releases, but for story support). Press releases don’t drive coverage. I’d go so far as to claim that they hinder it. The time spent in approvals and re-writes is time better spent on the phone or in conversation with the media (and, yes, I count bloggers and other new media influencers in this bucket).

So, what’s a company to do once it realizes the ineffectiveness of its releases? Some ideas:

  • Build out the story beyond the “Company x announced today…”
  • Interview one of the people behind the news. Capture the interview and post it as a podcast or videocast. Offer that person up to reporters. Personalize the news.
  • Uncover customers and other third-parties that can talk to the impact your news has on your industry (afterall, your news does have impact, correct?).
  • Find something provocative in the issues your announcement addresses and write an equally provocative blog post or byline on it.

I’m sure there are others. Feel free to chime in with yours in the comment section.

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