The traditional press release was a primary PR tool designed to help journalists understand an organization’s point of view surrounding a specific announcement. It was a conduit to help get the message across to media. Media were a conduit to reaching the audience, be they consumers, investors, local authorities or any other number of potential targets. It worked well. But times have changed.
First of all, let me confirm that the press release still has a place and remains an invaluable tool. Its function has evolved though. This seems the most difficult thing for many PR pros to understand. The questions I typically get include:
- Why should we distribute a release online?
- Are reporters accessing news information online?
- How does a news release need to be rewritten for the Web?
- Who actually reads our news online?
I’m not going to answer all of these questions right now. But there are two important things I thought I’d share that help PR professionals less versed with online strategy start to “get it”.
- A new media release allows organizations to bypass traditional channels and create a factual, undiluted news destination. It is also a great way to enhance an organization’s search engine visibility, especially when it embraces the language of the Internet and its users. This leads into my second point.
- Traditionally we have been focused on distinguishing a company, product or executive through unique messaging. The Internet is about identifying and aligning with commonalities. When we create truly exceptional releases, we lead with common and popular terms and quickly move to the point of distinction. If your news materials use terminology specific to an organization or unfamiliar to the average customer, people won’t find it. It’s as simple as that.
PR has an incredible role to play online. Professionals also needs to assume an incredibly high level of responsibility and accountability since in many instances a journalist is not necessarily filtering and analyzing the message. It’s up to the author to create context and establish credibility by understanding the audience and what really matters to them.
[tags]pr, new media release, social media press release, public relations[/tags]