The Press Release is Dead

Originally posted on Maximus Strategy by Chris Yandle

Wait, what?

Yes, the press release - as we know it - is dead. Gone. But, why?

With social media becoming the number one source of information and media pitching for public relations practitioners, the art of the press release is gone. Of course, so is the art of writing, which is an unfortunate byproduct of our social media world.

The press release led a good life. The first press release was sent in 1906 and it didn't change all that much over the next 110 years. It had become something that PR professionals were told to do and expected to do. In the last decade, we were leaning too much on the press release. We were sending releases FOR EVERYTHING. 

Was it newsworthy? Who cares, send a press release. That was the mantra for many of us - me included. It was a few years ago when I realized that we are approaching this the wrong way. We are wasting our time by writing release after release, and we are wasting the time of our recipients by bombarding their email inboxes with crap.

Crap, I tell you.

So, what's next? There are many things that can and will replace the traditional press release. Here's what you can do:

  1. RESEARCH YOUR TARGETED AUDIENCE(S) AND MAKE A TAILOR-MADE PITCH. That's right. Use Google and other resources to search for the publications and media members associated with your "news" and make a tailor-made pitch. But, there is one caveat: make sure your "news" is newsworthy. There is a difference.
  2. TWITTER. Of all the social platforms, Twitter was made for story pitching and one-to-one connections between media members and public relations practitioners. Use Twitter to your advantage.
  3. SPEAKING OF TWITTER... When you find the right outlets for your news, speak their language. Do they like emojis? Speak emoji. Are they GIF connoisseur? Then, send some unique GIFs related to your story.
  4. BECOME AN ADVOCATE. Even as a PR pro, we are also media members. Become an expert in your field, become an advocate for the news you want to present. Write weekly blogs on the subject matter, share on various platforms such as Reddit, Medium and LinkedIn.
  5. POST YOUR MEDIA KIT OR OTHER PUBLICATION INFO ON MEDIUM. Medium is the easiest way to publish your content and many thought-leaders and media members are there regularly. You should be, too.

Don't expect instant ROI. You can't. Like anything in this digital age, it comes with time. This will take time and that's okay.

However, the traditional press release - as we have known and loved it - is dead. Let's preserve the inboxes of our allies and think of different ways to make our news newsworthy to the media. It's a new day for public relations.