By now, it’s abundantly clear to all the press release haters out there that the blog post by Tom Foremski Die! Press Release Die! Die! Die! did not succeed in killing the press release. However, since the now infamous blog post made waves back in 2006, the press release has been attacked as useless and out of date by countless others in the media.
Survival of the fittest
To its credit, our little friend the press release, who has for so long been the cornerstone of traditional PR practice, is valiantly fighting back and trying to find its way back into the hearts of those who have rallied against it. The past few years of press release transformation begs the question – has the press release really changed at all from the monster Foremski wanted to abolish?
Today’s prime example of a press release transformed is the Social Media Press Release, which is basically your traditional release with a LOT of bells and whistles. Its purpose is to communicate additional content to journalists about the release like videos, photos and links to related information.
Unfortunately for the press release, consultant Mark Evans recently observed in a post on Ragan.com that this new type of release is “dying on the vine” and has not turned the world of releasing news to journalists on its head. This is because many PR people are just using this new type of release to do the same old thing – sending a generic release to large lists of journalists who may or may not even cover it.
Is SEO the way to go?
So maybe dressing up an old release is not the way to go. There may be hope for the release yet in another space – search engine optimization. In a search-focused world, journalists and consumers are now using tools to find the information they want. Press release guru Business Wire has caught on to this trend and has created its own optimized platform that uses some of those same bells and whistles found in the social media press release to help company releases be found in search engines.
Perhaps it is simply semantics – or should we say – relevant keywords that define the press release’s new place in the world of media. A quick search of “social media press release” results in plenty of articles and how-to’s – mostly from 2007 and 2008.
An epic battle is waging: where will the press release land?
No one knows what the future holds for press releases. In our lifetime, there will always be a need to announce big corporate news in the form of a release because there will always be traditional style journalists who like it. But, PR pros can be sure those releases will have to shift their focus to pacify a new generation of media and clients in a world where relevant content is king.