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•• Is the Death of the Press Release Greatly Exaggerated?

December 3, 2013

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Press release, we hardly knew ye.

For years now, PR pundits and bloggers have wandered the streets of the village, tolling bells and demanding that we practitioners bring out our dead, a la Monty Python.  The corpse in question?  The once-mighty press release.

Recently Coca-Cola’s Ashley Brown was the latest to sign the guest book at the funeral home, but before the mourners begin their weeping, ask the question.

“Why does the press release need to die?”

It doesn’t.  Just like any tool, it has its place in the communications mix.  If you are writing press releases for release’s sake, that’s bad PR and poor strategy.  We’ve had clients ask us to come up with a budget for arbitrary metrics like “six press releases a year.” — No strategy, no story, no overall goal.  Just a box to tick on the annual review.

That’s what should die.  Don’t blame the messenger, blame the lack of message.

In a world where some industries are miles ahead and others are slowly ramping up, a press release can still be a valuable tool to communicate a story.  But it’s a tool, not a program.  Just as social media, direct mail, email marketing, and (gasp) face-to-face interactions still have a role in marketing today, knowing your audience, media, influencers and what mechanism to use is key.

And anyone who is willing to take a tool out of the toolbox for the sake of being on the elite end of the PR spectrum doesn’t always have the client’s best interests at heart.

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