Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Press Release Isn't Dead. No, Twitter Didn't Kill It.

End of summer. It's the time to get the children ready for school, for Jewish people to begin their New Year (L'shana Tova) and get ready to fast for Yom Kippur (yay), for the leaves to start changing colors and for the inevitable "public relations is dead" or "the press release is dead" meme to go around the Web.

Inevitably, the argument reminds me of this:

Thankfully, AdAge and Simon Dumenco do not disappoint this year. Dumenco lays out a bunch of arguments showcasing entertainment and celebrities touting this project or that on Twitter.

So from that, Twitter is killing the press release. Because, to quote Simon, "as the celebrity-industrial complex goes, so goes the rest of corporate America." Forget that publicity firms are the last firms to social media, often being beat (by years) by their consumer technology sister firms. Forget that publicity and the entertainment complex aren't comparable to corporations that have to abide by SEC disclosures and other sticky things like that.

But, maybe, just maybe Twitter's limitation to 140 characters is just not enough to disseminate news, even with links to a blog or page that is, well, I guess it'd be a press release huh?

This doesn't mean that the press release is a great piece of public relations history. The press release has many issues - most being that too much that's put out as a release is not newsworthy, and people can't write - but this isn't going to be fixed by a magical social media release or abandoning press releases to Twitter. And while Google bypassed a press release for it's earnings back in April (ignore the long, and well, wrong section on the social media release), Google must have still disseminated the news to go to its Investor site by some type of wire release (or maybe it just went to Reuters) - correction (11.20 am) via @irwebreport: Google just used EDGAR and didn't do a release. Doesn't change my main point, though.

The press release isn't dead. Twitter isn't killing it. It's not going to disappear over night because, well, there are still people that are investors and stakeholders that need to get information. And they're not all on Twitter.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Lessons for Social Media (And Junior Staffers) from Mad Men

From last night's Mad Men was a quick exchange (well, soliloquy) from Don Draper to Peggy Olson. Quick recap: Peggy was upset she didn't get credit for an idea that lead to this:
It's your job - I give you money, you give me ideas.

But you never say thank you.

That's what the money is for. You are young, you will get your recognition.

And honestly, it is absolutely ridiculous to be two years into your career and counting your ideas.

Everything to you is an opportunity. And you should be thanking me every morning when you wake up, along with Jesus, for giving you another day.
Re-read it. Every day that you have the opportunity to present ideas - be it in public relations or social media - is a day you should be thankful that you have a job, and that you get to present your ideas and be part of a team.

Re-read it. If you're a junior staffer, every day you have the opportunity to work with senior staff and be mentored by them to help your career grow.

Re-read it. Just because you are using social media tools and technology since birth does not mean you "get it" better than senior staffers. In fact, what it likely means is you get it less because you have no real idea or understanding to strategy, tactics and overall objectives and how to integrate social media into an overall public relations or marketing plan.

Re-read it. Yes, PR is a hard industry. Years ago, I read an article that it is one of the most stressful professions out there. But, if it's what you want to do, take your lumps, learn and be happy. Yes, Don should have shared the glory and praised down - but that rarely happens. But he's also someone that has given Peggy huge opportunities, and she's part of a team that is doing her job to make Don and the client look good.

Re-read it. You don't work for yourself, you work for an agency. Your personal branding doesn't mean shit, but your ideas and work do mean the world. The thank you is the paycheck, not your notoriety in social media.