Monday, January 22, 2007

Broken Record Time: Bagging on Press Releases

Okay, so over the weekend Brian Solis pings me with his post on the latest kerfuffle on the press release, in particular the social media release.

Ugh, sorry, just got back from throwing up.

This all started over Third Thursday and the social media release. First, let me disclose that I am not a fan of the social media release because I think it's a band-aid for the bigger problem: most junior PR people cannot write. Well, most high school and college graduates cannot write.

Then I read Robert Scoble's response that the social media release should just be replaced with, oh, a demo or a blog.

No.

What people don't get - especially non-PR people - is that, oh, the majority of PR is done at the local level, where people don't care about blogs or RSS. The local level is done with a press release - sometimes sent over the wire, often not sent over the wire - and done with one-on-one contact. Oh, wait, what about entertainment PR, where a lot of information is disseminated over the wire and through relationships.

The press release isn't broken. PR people nowadays just can't write for shit. Hell, some of the PR bloggers can't write for shit, but at least by blogging, they should be getting better at writing (maybe not grammar and punctuation, but at least concise writing).

And, while, yes, blogs and social media are changing how PR is done, there is so much that is not changing because of social media, like SEC guidelines (as noted by Scoble) but it is not because society does not need a press release.

Now for a little snarkiness: this weekend, there were a lot of stories about Obama, H. Clinton and Edwards and how all three are using the Internet to get the word out, and to get people interested. What if Podtech had sent out a press release about Scoble being on the road with Edwards? Is it possible that government reporters would have included that little nugget if they had received a press release about it, and kept it on file - or, at the least, looked at the Scobleshow episodes and remember them during this weekend's stories? That could have been done with ... a press release. And, don't get me started on what a targeted press release distribution could have done for the Bloghaus.

No, I'm not picking on Scoble - heck, need to call him later for a pitch - but I am using him as a point. Press releases - social or regular - have a use, but it is just not as big in the tech arena. But, damn, they are still needed for more than just this small arena, but for overall media.

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