Postings from the Edge

Global PR, new PR, social media and printing ink

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The future of the press release

Brian Solis is starting a multi part blog on the future of the press release over at PR 2.0 - Silicon Valley. Brian is one of the leading voices in the movement to open up PR with social media techniques and replace the press release with something better.

I'd like to drop the idea of press releases vs. social media releases because in the end we are talking about a single format (albeit a staple one) in the PR armoury. It isn't about format it is about content - the what, why, who, where, when and how.

In its most basic form a press release is raw content - no bells or whistles, just the facts. That many press releases are abused by the long and laborious route through corporate hierarchies is beyond doubt, but it still plays well to the number one audience - journalists.

It does so because the journalists still write stories in the same format, newspapers print them and news wires, despite their best efforts, still distribute most of their stories in plain text. By insisting of the death of one format over the other or the supremacy of digital over paper formats doesn't really do anything for me but obscure the real job for PR people - getting hold of people not talking about channels.

Talking about social media releases is good because it exposes businesses to an idea that they might not otherwise be receptive to. Physical products drive processes not the other way round. I am advocating social media releases not necessarily because they are better, but becuase they pioneer the idea that you can't control information anymore, you can only take part in the conversation.

I still expect to send out a great deal of press releases in my lifetime, I also expect to speak to a lot of journalists on the phone, text them tips, add links to delicious, blog and, yes, even make a few social media releases available

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