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The Role of the Press Release in PR

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 There is a wonderful discussion at Mark Evans’ blog about the social media release. What do you think?

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MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

There is a wonderful discussion at Mark
Evans’ blog about the social media release.

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What do you think?

Yes, despite the hype, the social media release never really took off. And,
if PR professionals can’t sell it, something’s not right.

First a little background.  https://portal.prnewswire.com/ 

The social
media release came to fame in 2006 when Todd
Defren (Shift Communications) introduced it.  The idea was to give busy reporters
everything they need in a release including photos, video, social media.

The social media release still is not commonly used. Evans’ concludes that
press releases generally aren’t essential.  Actually, I will amend that — social media releases aren’t essential.  People commenting on Evans’ post stated that
the traditional press release can be simply modified to include video, social
media and other dynamic portions of the social media release. It’s as if the
social media release has been co-opted, its social and multi-media features
absorbed into the regular press release. For instance, PR Newswire lets you distribute
multimedia releases and virally publicize them with social media

There is also another reason why it hasn’t caught on.  Unfortunately, it seems that the social media
press release is not very interesting to read. It’s bad enough to have dry, jargon-heavy
releases (I’ve probably done a few of my own). But who wants to read a
glorified outline? Here’s one example.

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In the rush to be both expedient and thorough, the social media release
lacks the advantages of an expertly crafted release.

Written properly, it tells a story – the who, what, when, where, how. Make
no mistake.  I’m not implying that the
classic press release is a work of art.  However, it promptly gets to the point and sometimes…it
can even grab your attention.

I went on Business Wire’s site and looked under the contest category. This
release, Calling
All Swedish Hospital Babies and Parents, grabbed my attention right away.
What an engaging title! The release is well written and includes all the crucial
facts.  I would have liked a visual included
with the release, but the visually-austere release still fulfills its purpose.

So where does this leave everyone?

As David Meerhman Scott indicates
in his revolutionary book, The New Rules of
Marketing & PR, today’s releases are no longer primarily intended for
the media. Conversely, they are more geared towards the search engines and
ultimately, the customers. This means:

Press releases
must be readable, attention-grabbing, and search-engine friendly so they
get highly ranked by Google, Yahoo, etc.Press releases should
make a journalist’s job easy.  The key
facts need to be connected in a way that a media person could simply
rewrite a sentence or two along with his/her byline if the media person or
blogger was in a rush.Press releases
can’t be fluffy. They should just stick to the facts.Press releases
should to be jargon-free

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For more ways to enhance your press releases, read this post: 
http://www.badlanguage.net/62-ways-to-improve-your-press-releases

What kind of press release do you use? We would love to hear from
you.

 

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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