Let’s End the Press Release Relevance Debate — Please?

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make it stop

Let’s bring the press release debate to conclusion

Journalists who call the press release a useless relic of the past and the PR pros who label it a La-Z-Boy solution to communications continue to miss the point when it comes to this oft-maligned tool.  In fact, as I have discussed in previous posts, the folks at Business Wire and PR News Wire are laughing all the way to the bank.  They may thank Mr. Oscar Wilde for saying, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

If you want to find the most recent of the many discussions about the relevance, or irrelevance, of the press release you need not look any further than LinkedIn.  But I know you’re busy so I’m here to save you some time and trouble by summarizing the discussion for you right here.

Another LinkedIn press release debate

About a week ago, a member of the Public Relations Professionals group on LinkedIn posted to the community’s 45,000 members this query:  Is the press release really dead?   According to this article it is:  The End of the Press Release.

Said article appeared in Ragan’s PR Daily and is authored by Gregory Galant, founder and CEO of Muck Rack — an alternative to press release distribution services.  Essentially, Muck Rack offers a platform that filters and analyzes how journalists are covering the news and has monthly usage plans that scales from a single user to large work groups.  From what I can tell, the product might be better positioned as a press release companion and integrated into the strategic communications ecosystem, along with a plan for press releases (when appropriate).

And that’s the point — a press release and associated distribution services are by no means end-all be-all communications solutions.  Instead, the press release is nothing more than a another form of content, and like any content –whether it be in the form of a blog post, an eBook, a tweet or a media pitch — it can be extremely effective as part of a unified communications plan  as a number of communications pros, thankfully, pointed out in the LinkedIn discussion.

The press release morphs and lives another day

Emmet Walker, a PR and digital marketing executive at Certification Europe, was the first voice of reason when he offered:  “I think the press release has just evolved and PR professionals who have not recognised this will continue to say that the press release is dead while those that grasp the new eco-system, as part of a paid, owned and earned communications strategy will flourish.”

Chas Kielt, a brand identity and marketing executive, said about the press release is dead discussion: “not only is it tiresome and overdone, it has increasingly become a spurious declaration from parties with an agenda, including Ragan’s PR Daily which tweeted on 6/11: ‘PR pros—Ditch that press release graveyard on your website! Replace it with a sexy digital newsroom.’ They included a link to an advertorial for its partner, PressPage.”

And while I’m generally a fan and even an occasional contributor to Ragan’s PR Daily, they would be doing a great service to their readers if they let them know that they were reading an advertorial (as in the case of the Muck Rack post) before reaching the bio at the end of the post.

Call it link baiting or a misunderstanding, but the preponderance of digital discussions about the irrelevance of press releases has really runs its course.

Please. Help. Make. It. Stop.

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