Oct 21, 2010

The Death – and Rebirth – of the Press Release

Have you followed the “press release is dead” argument?  If you are in PR it is hard to avoid.  It has been blogged and tweeted about for years now.

The more narrow your conception of the press release the more likely this argument is to resonate.  Certainly the printed words on paper variety is destined for display on a typewriter or telex machine in the communications museum.  The name press release itself is obsolete.  Press is only part of the goal now and it is more like publishing than releasing.

PR Newswire multimedia press release

A fully-loaded multimedia press release incorporating video, images, links and more

I like to compare the evolution of press release to a plant that withers with the first frost but not before spreading its seeds through the landscape.  With the change of seasons the offspring are bigger, richer and greener.

So what has happend to the press release?  Is it dead, or has it been reborn as a rich package of digital content that is more like a landing page or microsite?

The publication of a release now has a very visual impact.  Not just in terms of fonts and  format but more significantly with the inclusion of multimedia elements ranging from logos to photos, video and slide shows.  Through links it has become a resource to far more information than can be written on its front page.  And through optimization and social media sharing it has become a distribution capsule.

The growth in the potential audience is even more dramatic.  Where we used to add slugs like “to assignment editor” we now are thinking of reaching customers, investors, consumers, business partners and news junkies, not to mention friends, followers and connections.

So I won’t be participating in the memorialization of this age-old communications tool.   I’m much more interested in celebrating what it has become and anxiously planning how to cultivate its future growth.

Authored by Ken Dowell, EVP, PR Newswire

For more thinking on the opportunities digital content and social media offer today’s PR pros, download our new white paper, “PR Rising,” which details how leading public relations practitioners are using multiple content formats and channels to build visibility of and engagement with their messages.

Fill in your details below: