Monday morning at MCC International typically begins with a flurry of press release activity; distributing them to the journalist community that have arrived at their desk, strong coffee in hand, ready for their early fix of the latest breaking stories.
The press release has, as far back as I can remember (and that is some time!), been a stable of the PR armoury. It is the tried, tested and proven format (the who, what, when, why and how) for getting stories out to journalists quickly and efficiently. Topics for press releases can be diverse: a new customer win, launch of a new/improved product or service, personnel appointments, announcing a strategic partnership, disclosing financial results or, publishing survey finds. The list is endless!
But today, the press release has value far beyond that of the media coverage it generates and has become somewhat of a misnomer. In fact these short, snappy and interesting stories have an increasingly important role to play in the overall communication of the company message directly to its marketplace.
Traditionally, the press release was a ‘carrier’ of news to journalists, who would in turn interpret the story and communicate it out to their readers, viewers or listeners. Whilst this is still happening, all day and every day, the press release has become more fundamental than ever before.
Think about the last press release your company issued. Chances are it will have been sent out to the media, placed on the company website and Intranet, the URL posted on Twitter, your LinkedIn profile updated with the news, maybe even your Facebook status and the story filed for use in the next company newsletter or e-zine.
The press release is more powerful than it has ever been, but perhaps as PR professionals we need to start referring to them as news releases; otherwise we are not doing true justice to these two-page performers. Afterall, we don’t refer to the powerful computers that we write them on as typewriters any more!