The first thing most people today associate with Public Relations is most many times a press release. And that is no surprise. After all, press releases are the most widely used strategy that PR professionals have employed in order to receive their client’s message across in a timely and organized fashion.
But has the effectiveness of the press launch come to an end?
In 2006 the media launch celebrated its 100-year anniversary. The initial Persbericht schrijven? A news release about a derailed train in Atlantic City that killed 53 people, disseminated by Ivy Ledbetter Lee. Back in 1905, Lee became the co-founder of America’s third public relations firm, Parker and Lee, and is arguably considered to be the creator of current-day PR (sans social media-laden 2010).
Also called a news release, a press release is generally a one- to two-page document exhibiting the”Five Ws” (who, what, where, when, why – and how) of an information briefing. It’s a method of packaging a story to deliver to members of the media, in addition to other parties, by directing them to the main facts and providing them with ideas for a creative twist or hook to their story.
During my experience working as a partner in a full fledged PR firm for the last four decades, I have come to think of a media release like a mannequin in a clothes store. A shop, if in a mall, boutique or even on New York’s Fifth Avenue, usually sets up various mannequins to show each new style. These mannequins are arranged as a way to show shoppers exactly what it would look like to wear a particular outfit – usually the merchant’s brand new lines. Mannequins act as a way of indicating to clients how to piece together a fantastic ensemble. This is similar to a press release, which plans to show a reporter precisely the way the news story ought to be written.
Some customers stick to these ensembles, purchasing every bit that is worn by a mannequin, if this look suits their needs. But if the store didn’t do a good job in putting together this outfit, or if two or one particular pieces on the mannequin are stronger than the remainder, clients may pick only those better looking bits and leave the rest. As a result, the rest of the shoppers won’t buy any. The latter situation is comparable to many journalists who scrap most press releases they receive, if they don’t match what they’re searching to write about, or are not really put together very nicely.
In recent years, many have questioned the significance of press releases in the modern rapid-fire culture of social media. Are they still an essential part of the news cycle, or are their best years behind them?
Pop Music Writer Joey Guerra, of the Houston Chronicle, considers they are still necessary since they are the fastest way of sending basic info on a topic.
Guerra says he mainly uses press releases when they are tied to certain events – a CD-release party, a concert, a festival -“something that has details [which ] you require for a narrative or a record.”
He also believes that press releases that are attached to just a general idea aren’t very helpful, nor are they helpful after the fact, either.
“The frustrating thing is that often people do not contain enough essential information.”
Candice Sabatini, the Editorial Director for Beauty News NYC, agrees. “I rely on media releases to give me advice on product launches, popular travel destinations, lifestyle trends, fashion trends, and also what occurred on the runway during Fashion Week during the shows I wasn’t able to attend. I depend on press releases to get product and key figure info.”