Reinventing the press release for the new media dynamics

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Reinventing the press release for the new media dynamics Powered By Docstoc
					A Pamil Visions PR White Paper.
Authors: Phil Butler, Mihaela Lica
Concept and editor: Laura Spencer
Content:


 Reinventing the press release for the new media dynamics…………………… Page 1
 Press releases: traditional vs. online…………………………………………………. Page 2
         Traditional press releases defined…………………………………………….Page 2
         Traditional shifted online………………………………………………………..Page 2
         The death of the press release………………………………………………..Page 3
         The birth of the social media release………………………………………..Page 3
 Writing for the new media and the new generation of consumers.…………… Page 5
          Dos and don’ts…………………………………………………………………..Page 5
          New expectations………………………………………………………………Page 6
          New rules………………………………………………………………………….Page 7
 Traditional press releases, reinvented…..…………………………………………… Page 8
          Writing attention-grabbing headlines………………………………………Page 8
          Writing value-focused press releases………………………………...……Page 11
 Bibliography………………………………….………………….……………………….Page 13
 Reinventing the press release for the new media dynamics


Today's rapidly changing media environment presents a challenge for all marketing
professionals. Businesses and PR can no longer rely on traditional media – print and broadcast
– to communicate and publicize. The market has changed. The consumers are media savvy
and Net savvy. The Net Generation will shape the future of marketing and media in the 21 st
century. This generation focuses on collaboration, interaction, research, and scrutiny – they
are a tough crowd who will not be swayed by spoon-fed information. Transparency,
consumer engagement, customer centricity – these are not just buzz words. They are the new
paradigm of marketing, a core that affects positively companies that understand and
implement change and innovation at all echelons, PR and marketing inclusive.

The tools used by businesses to communicate and publicize have changed too. Tradition still
has its place, but the new media demands creativity, novelty, and uniqueness.
Communication goes through a myriad of channels, from news outlets, to personal blogs,
forums, social networks, and microblogs. Businesses can no longer control the message and
the public perception that comes through these channels. They can, at best, monitor the
Web and react. They can also attempt to feed the media with the right information, using
traditional tools like press releases, announcements, and newsletters. We will, in the following
paper, attempt to explore the new types of press releases developed by marketers to adapt
to these changes. We will also take you through the process of creating an online press
release designed for effect.
                    Press releases: traditional vs. online
Traditional press releases defined:

The traditional definition of the press release still holds value today, although the forms and
channels of distribution have changed. A press release (also known as a news release, a
media release, or a press statement) is a written, or recorded, communication directed at the
members of the media to announce a newsworthy event – be it a product launch, service,
company news, employment, etc.

Historically, traditional press releases targeted reporters at newspapers, magazines, television
stations, and radio stations. Designed with the goal of capturing a reporter's attention,
traditional press releases were often short and followed a specific template that only
provided members of the media with the basic details about the newsworthy information. All
other details (images, management quotes, reports, etc) were collected in a “press kit,”
which was often offered to the reporter on demand. The reporter then decided whether to
run the release “as is” or to give it a different spin.

Traditional shifted online:

                                               The traditional media is no longer segregated
                                               from the new media – now the press release
    Press releases are nearly useless. They    targets online publications as well. All journalists
    typically start with a tremendous          of the print and broadcast environment use the
    amount of top-spin, they contain pat-      Internet to research, communicate, and
    on-the-back phrases and meaningless        collaborate. Most traditional publications also
    quotes. Often they will contain quotes     have a strong online presence, both visual and
    from C-level executives praising their     textual.
    customer focus. They often contain
    praise from analysts, (who are almost    Naturally, business owners focus their marketing
    always paid or have a customer           efforts on this new environment, pushing
    relationship.) And so on...              conventional press releases to journalists via
                                             email and other distribution methods. Often,
    Tom Foremski – “Die! Press Release! Die! the press releases get published online like any
    Die!”                                    other content - “in your face” - and distributed
                                             through email newsletters to consumers as well.
                                             The purpose is dual: publicizing the news and
gaining an SEO (search engine optimization) advantage.

The method used to be very effective ten years ago, when online communication was young
and resembled the old broadcast media, but with the growing popularity of social media
and new Web (Web 2.0), audiences rely less and less on traditional media for their
information. The SEO advantage of traditional press releases is questionable. Traditional press
releases do not reach as many people as they once did, and the audiences (journalists and
consumers) have grown to hate them.
                                                                                                      2
                                                                                                      Page
The death of the press release:

In his celebrated “Die! Press Release! Die! Die!”        Deconstruct the press release into
                                                         special sections and tag the
editorial (2006) Tom Foremski did not propose
                                                         information so that as a publisher, I can
the death of the press release, as the title             pre-assemble some of the news story
implies. Instead, he proposes a possible                 and make the information useful...
evolution of the press release, making it fit for
the marketing dynamics of the new media. His             The tags would be things like: recent
approach was brilliant: use a headline that stirs        share price, founders, first quarter
controversy in the industry and incorporate a            revenues, analyst quotes, etc...
call to action to kill the one-size-fits-all self-
centered, over-hyping, and sales-focused press           And because we are dealing with tags
                                                         that are attached to facts--there is no
releases.
                                                         spin so there is no problem in printing
                                                         the information as it is received. If we
Foremski proposed a new press release format             can get the tags to be finely tuned, as
for the media, with a focus on the journalists           a publisher, I could spec out a story and
who receive press releases in electronic format.         assemble it automatically and then
The ideal press release, in his view, would have         quickly edit it by hand before
a brief description of what the announcement             publishing.
was, but leave the spin to the journalists.
                                                         Tom Foremski – “Die! Press Release! Die!
The proposed format was rich and heavy, and              Die!”
it was supposed to include an array of
information that spread over more than one
page (typically the information found in a press kit):


       Provide a page of quotes from the CEO or other C-level execs.
       Provide a page of quotes from customers, if applicable.
       Provide a page of quotes from analysts, if applicable.
       Provide financial information in many different formats.
       Provide a whole page of relevant links to other news stories or reference sources.

                                       The birth of the social media release:

                                       The “page spread” idea would have made a press
                                       release too long for online distribution, too “meaty.”

                                       Inspired by Foremski and the multimedia releases (MMR)
                                       already existing on the market, Todd Deffren created
                                       the format of the first Social Media Press Release (SMPR),
                                       a concept that opened new perspectives for reach
                                       and distribution.

                                       The SMPR targeted both traditional media journalists
                                       and new media journalists, including the so-called
                                       “citizen journalists” – the bloggers, key influencers of the
                                       Net generation. This was, perhaps, one of the most
                                       important steps in adapting the traditional press release
                                       to the demands of the online world.
                                                                                                      3
                                                                                                      Page
To an extent, we are still far from these visions today, although many public relations experts
and communicators have worked to refine these concepts and to promote the social media
release as an industry standard.

Meanwhile, the traditional press release has survived with the stubbornness of a mule. To this
day traditional press releases, with some minor improvements (such as SEO), are still the most
popular form of news distribution. Journalists and bloggers alike receive hundreds of press
releases in classic format via email every day. Newswires like PRWeb, Business Wire,
PRNewswire, PRLeap, and others, also distribute thousands of traditional press releases each
day. Believe it or not, the press release format is not the main problem with these releases.
The reason why most of these press releases fail is the use of old marketing speech that
enforces stereotypes and hype. This language is omnipresent like a plague in the press
releases’ titles, bodies, and even in the pitches that are meant to grab the attention of the
reader.




   Traditional                                       Online
          Targets newspapers, magazines,                  Targets online magazines and
           television stations, and radio stations          newspapers, blogs, vlogs, podcasts,
          Distributed per post, fax or email               social media and can extend its
          Standard format, following a                     influence to traditional media
           predefined template                             Distributed via email, newsletter,
          Additional information offered as a              newswires, social sharing sites
           “press kit”                                     Different formats, including standard,
          At the mercy of a handful of                     SMPR, MMR, etc.
           reporters, who might write a story or           Seen by millions - enriched with
           not                                              interactive media elements and
                                                            social media sharing tools
                                                           Overused, flooding the search
                                                            engines with low-quality content,
                                                            market saturation



    Both types of press releases still have a lot in common:
          Self-serving, full of marketing hype, stereotypes, self-praise, meaningless quotes
          Many times lacking a newsworthy component
          Lacking focus in targeting the right audiences
                                                                                                     4
                                                                                                     Page
      Writing for the new media and the new generation of
                          consumers

Most of the press releases that populate the Web are unidirectional: firms marketing to
consumers, promoting themselves and their services aggressively, still attempting to control
the message, the distribution channels, and the response.

For this type of releases, the PR industry has already drafted rules that are considered
standards. These dos and don’ts, although widely known, are often disregarded by marketers
and even by the most senior PR practitioners who shotgun press releases to thousands of
journalists and bloggers they have in their databases without giving any thought to what
these people actually write about. These rules, if respected, make the foundation of a
professional, qualified press release that could generate the desired media momentum.




   Do:                                              Don’t
          make sure that your information is            write about material that is of no
           newsworthy.                                    interest.
          target your information to a specific         send your press release to every
           audience.                                      media source that you can think of,
          use a template or other guide.                 whether or not that audience would
          write an attention-grabbing                    be interested in your material.
           headline.                                     write a dull, boilerplate headline.
          organize your information.                    overstuff your press release with so
          use short, easy-to-understand                  many key words that they obscure
           sentences.                                     the meaning of the release.
          keep it simple: no jargon, buzz words,        use terms and abbreviations that
           etc.                                           almost no one understands.
          optimize your press release for the           use hyperboles or any other literary
           search engines.                                licenses that could cause readers to
          interview company officials and                doubt the truth of the release.
           others for interesting quotes and             misquote interview subjects.
           angles on the story.                          leave out contact information, or
          include co
				
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Description: From the anatomy of a social press release, to writing an SEO optimized, social media ready press release, this eBook covers everything you need to know to reach wider audiences online. The social media press release (SMPR) goes beyond journalists' mail boxes, straight in front of your target audiences.
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