This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
I am done with releases. Done. Zip. Zilch. Period. End point. Finished. Completo.
In 2010, I created a blog post entitled “The News Release is Dead” and in February last year, after reading a new book, Trust Me, PR is Dead, I wrote a blog response that murdered the press release.
I was really feeling like there was something that needed to change about our work and PR in general. Not that we’re not already doing things differently by choosing values-aligned clients and using more unconventional ways of pitching. I realized that it was because – after declaring the news release dead – I was still doing them just to appease our clients and do what they expected of us. And it wasn’t fulfilling me or doing anything great for us or them. So we started moving away from releases at the end of last year, and it feels like we’re getting back into the fast lane and moving with where marketing is actually going, rather than paddling against the rapids.
And now we’re in a place where social media, video [advertising], and paid influencer marketing is the name of the game in PR. Audiences are smarter, and traditional news outlets – while still serving a purpose – aren’t serving PR pros any more like they used to. We’ve had to get more creative, and demand more resources from our clients.
And this means spending more of our time being creative with our messaging concepts and methods, and less time writing archaic documents the same way PR companies used to do in the days of yore, and still continue to do, unfortunately.
What will you do without the release?, you ask. Well, all clients and campaigns are different from each other, but instead of writing, posting, and sending releases, here’s what we’re doing instead.
1. 3-sentence e-mail pitches, ideally. That’s all you need to pretty much ask someone, “Here’s what [our client] is doing that’s newsworthy. Are you interested in spreading the word to your audience?” See, that’s 2 sentences. Even better.
2. Putting all of the resources that would have been in a news release – like a spokesperson quote and background info on the company/event – on a client’s newsroom page or in a blog post. Websites have replaced media kits. I know kits are still used, but only by companies with huge budgets for packaging and shipping. I’d also like companies like CSR Wire to get on board with these kinds of newsrooms and pitches so that they’re more nimble and affordable than if we were to use them to send releases.
3. Come up with more creative and preferred ways to communicate stories. We’ve already been using social to pitch media and bloggers alike, so if we can learn more of their preferences, we’ll continue to do more of this. (I find Canadian media still a bit behind in these methods.) This may mean not even going the traditional news route…If a video on social is the way to go, that’s what we’ll recommend our clients do. Remember, PR is the new Marketing.
I’ve also signed Cision’s #pitchPRomise on behalf of our company, which shows our commitment to not using blasting services (yes, they’re out there now and so are newswires), non-personalized messages, or irrelevant pitches when sending to media. It means we’ll be engaging with influencers and using technology to form relationships as PR was meant to do, not to let it do our job for us. There are some things robots will never be able to do; PR will be one of them for a long time.
I am excited about this new era we’re entering, and this new policy we have put in place that will benefit our clients, not limit them. Who’s with me?