A long time practitioner confessed that a recent event he promoted on Social Media and to the local press got terrific coverage – in spite of the fact that he forgot to issue an actual press release. With links to reference material, full image galleries available for the media – any media – to pick from, feeds helping to manage topical information flow, and a willing and hungry population of news aggregators in the blogosphere – do you need to issue a formal press release? And, once written, do you need to distribute it through a paid wire service in order to get local, regional, national or international coverage? Or is passive posting to a service like Pitch Engine the way of the future?
Yes, no and yes. I am still in favor of the press release – as charming as it may be. It’s like a formal invitation – well written ones contain all the facts and follow up links needed for reporters of every shape and size. But I can see where a local event in a small media market could get by without one. As to the paid wire services? Companies that are still spending a fortune on disclosure and complicated distribution lists are rapidly becoming dinosaurs. Bloggers don’t access paid wire feeds, media contact points (reporters, news desk editors) change too frequently to email to vast third party distribution lists with certainty, and media coverage is trending towards hyper-local issues and away from daily paper coverage of national or international topics. Compiling distribution lists is again the burden of a competent professional and not a third party one-size-fits-all provider. Building those relationships with bloggers and reporters – and providing them with fresh content on a regular basis that is mindful of the spirit and flavor of each point on that network – is the challenge facing public relations as it evolves to confront and integrate Web 2.0.
Also, in the past, it made sense to distribute information full text to the paid wire because without it your news would not be archived in full in the information databases – only the news reporter version of your truth would be available under a search. With that necessity removed (simply by the availability of full text source information on the internet) the importance of the paid wire is diminished. For a quick look at what is happening to the news release in Investor Relations, see NYSE, NASDAQ Move To Scrap Compulsory News Releases on IRWebReport.