Killing the News Release Won’t Solve the Problem

Tell the truth. Have you ever thrown a news release at a reporter waiting to see if, like spaghetti, a few bits of news stick to the wall?

The news release is dying and perhaps is already dead. Don’t tell Businesswire or PR Newswire. And heavens, don’t tell the stable of PR firms who throw them at journalists like spaghetti, hoping that at least one of the nuggets of information sticks to the wall.

I hate news releases, mostly because too many lazy PR employ them and do so ineffectively. My favorite blog find this week offered a Mad Lib approach to writing your next news release.

I don’t know if traditional news releases need to be killed, per se. (Done well, they still are effective and have a role to play.) But I am encouraged by the growth of the social media form of news releases. (Ford does the social media news release especially well in my opinion.)

But simply forcing the traditional news release into a social media form won’t solve the real problem: too many PR waste the time of journalists and bloggers with poor writing, a lack of brevity and an absence of real news. Even worse, there are way too many people who don’t deal with reporters in person. Ever.

Like most PR people, I work with a lot of journalists exclusively via email and phone. There are quite a few journalists who live on the other side of the country who I have great working relationships with and we’ve never met in person.

But when it comes down to it, there’s no substitute for connecting with someone in person. That’s when you can really get to know a journalist and learn how you can best work with them to help them do their job.

When was the last time you met with a reporter or blogger in person?



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