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.

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9 comments

  1. Thanks for your post. Agree, the Press/Media release isn't dead. But there are some exciting new twists to the usual PR/Media model - and some great new direct tools that connect the Media with their Source (either via or by jumping over the PR). For example - www.sourcebottle.com.au which as well as connecting journos and PRs by putting the journo in charge of the 'conversation', has also opened the barrier between talent/business and the media.

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  2. Thanks for this post Jeremy. Press releases are far from perfect for disseminating news and so are tweets! As PR pros we have the advantage of having more tools than ever before to spread news about our clients which means we have more ways of messing up and getting it wrong too. I think it's important for pros to evaluate their client and the client's audience before selecting a medium for a "release."

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  3. If anything, Twitter has helped showcase the need for shorter, yet more informative releases. Same goes for media pitching - no more 3-4 paragraph pitches, journalists don't have time to read through everything.

    @Worob
    PR at Sunrise - worob.com

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  4. Agree that Twitter is changing things, but it can't kill the press or news release. My biggest objection to using Twitter for PR is.. it lacks exclusivity.

    Unless you DM your release with link to media (good luck NOT getting blocked for spam) your pitch it public, no longer unique to that media outlet or reporter, and they can see that. Mariam is right about the medium. FWIW.

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  5. Enjoyed your take, J. The first time I read about the death of the press release was 1982. I suspect others declared it dead long before that.

    If anything kills the press release, it will be incompetent PR people who deluge gatekeepers with items that have no news value and are poorly written -- and that a high percentage of what's out there.

    A downside to the digital age, at least for publicists, is that it made the tools of communication available to the masses. While that access is a positive thing overall, it sure makes things tough on the PR professionals who must cut through the dross.

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  6. There will always be a need for press releases, and compnaies holding catalogues of these on their websites. Twitter is immediate but press relieases retrospectively cover the achievments of a company which is always useful for potential clients to look through. Possibly easier to bend the truth on twitter, a press release is cold copy which despite the positive spin, will always provide the reader with the information they need.

    I also agree with @worob that it has highlighted need fo shorter copy.

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  7. No,no, the press release isn't dead, it's just that twitter is another avenue another tool to get news out, in conjunction with the press release.

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  8. Have you seen this site? The bad Press release gets shamed.

    http://theinsertnameheresite.blogspot.com/

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  9. Getting news as fast as possible has become a to priority. So many mediums have popped up to create this instant gratification of information but how has that affected PR? Twitter obviously hasn't killed PR but has it changed PR at all?

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