Poor little “press release.” This standard tool of the trade for most PR professionals is getting no respect these days and everyone is calling for its head. In the September 24th edition of Marketing Magazine on page 6 (wow - PR coverage! ) there is a little story by Rob Gerlsbeck about what he describes as an antiquated tactic known as issuing press releases. A very good story with the usual suspects quoted including High Road, Weber and CNW Group.
Personally, I wouldn’t dismiss the art of press release writing and dissemination over the wires anytime soon. For publicly traded companies, issuing material releases over the wire is a must. And as for most large multinationals, this is the best way of distributing timely news announcements efficiently and en masse.
But don’t call press releases “static” as Kerry Harris does over at Weber. The only thing static about press releases are the people who are writing them. Press release writing is a skill, a dying art quite frankly. Many releases I read have headlines that are weak, lead paragraphs that are verbose, and just too many pontificating CEO quotes for my liking. Releases should focus on news and answer the mandatory: Who, What, When, Why and How. Lazy PR practitioners still believe in the “Spray and Pray” PR model; Spray a release over the wire and pray that someone picks it up!”
A press release is just a tool, that’s it, not a strategy. Social media is not going to kill off press releases or wire services either. That’s just silly. Just like the advent of television didn’t kill off radio, and the Internet didn’t stop people from watching TV.
The press release is here to stay. Bad writers should kindly exit their premises.