Changing Face of the Press Release

By Brian Wendel

The changing face of the press release is back in the spotlight once again, and it’s sparking conversations, inspiring experiments and raising confusion along the way.

This time, intent and distribution takes center stage.

According to a new online press release study conducted by Fellows of the Society for New Communications, the goal of increasing an organizations’ visibility and credibility and announcing news is now almost equally as important as reaching customers, creating online content and search engine optimization.

In the study, marketing professionals were more interested than PR practitioners in reaching emerging media or consumers directly.

•    PR professionals rated the importance of reaching traditional media an average 4.53 on a 1-5 scale; compared to marketing professionals’ rating of 3.82
•    Marketing professionals rated the importance of reaching emerging media an average 3.49 on a 1-5 scale; compared to PR practitioners’ rating of only 2.83

The online press release has been adopted as a communications tool by the marketing profession, according to the report, but is being used very differently by PR folks.

According to PR practitioners, the most frequently cited criteria for evaluating the success of an online press release is:

•    Number of times the release has been published on websites (79.6%)
•    Number of times the release has been viewed online (76.8%)
•    An article based on the release (75.4%)
•    Media interview requests as a result of the release (74.2%)

Very few respondents indicated using social media press release formats (26.3%) and even fewer reported adding video (12.8%) or audio (9%) enhancements. Photos are the most popular elements in online press releases (49.5%); however, most concerning is fewer than half (48.8%) link to their own press release after it has been posted online.

What Makes a Social Media Release Social?

Obviously a Social Media Release needs to feature Social Media ingredients, including links to bookmarking networks, contextual tags, the ability to track and host conversations, and also discover the release within social networks.

So, what socializes a release?

A Social Media Release should contain everything necessary to share and discover a story in a way that is complementary to your original intent; but, the difference is, how people find it and the tools they use to share and broadcast.

Social Media is one big extension to the Web, except it promotes voices, along with content, in a way that focuses on people and their social networks.
Giving everyone what they need and how they need it, requires a different approach. Almost 100% of press releases issued today are done so without video or audio, which are underlying components of social media. But it’s not about multimedia content and whiz bang features; it’s about connecting content across social networks and the people looking for it.

So if marketing and PR professionals are promoting conversations, shouldn’t we instill the ability to host or feature comments?

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5 Responses to “Changing Face of the Press Release”


  1. 1 crownseven December 4, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Smart PR people are getting more engaged with the social media apps. You have to be in it to win it and journalists, bloggers and consumers are driving the conversations.

    Creating compelling content is the name of the game and people are obsessed with value!

  2. 2 crownseven December 4, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Smart PR people are adapting and immersing themselves in social media. It’s all about creating compelling content — and you have to be in it to win it.

  3. 3 dianany9 December 4, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Interesting post – social media releases (or posts) have emerged as an online trend. Posting, blogging, sharing opinions and ideas, and even critizing peoples thoughts. Take Perezhilton.com, or NYmag.com for example – people live on those sites and tailor their personalities, likes, dislikes and trends based on what others are commenting on and saying about what is going on in the media, sports, pop culture. The main difference, is that their compilations of opinions and thoughts, and not factual info as a press release would entail.

    Oh the internet…

  4. 4 alexbrousseau December 5, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Social media carries inherent risk. If you’re releaase, post, etc is a hit it will spread like wildfire. If your goal is conversation-starting regardless of where that discussion might lead, then social media provides a perfect venue. However, there is something to be said for releasing news in a more traditional, controlled way, where responses, posts, and comments don’t ultimately overshadow the initial content/messaging.

    I’m just playing devil’s advocate. I think social media is the cat’s pajamas.


  1. 1 Your Publicity To You » Blog Archive » Changing Face of the Press Release « Momentum Trackback on December 3, 2008 at 11:47 pm

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