Any void is a bad void.
If the press release is truly dead, buried and never to be heard from again, then what – the question stands – will take its place? What will fill the empty space left when the dust settles on the public relations industry and it is without its press releases, which have stood for generations? Critics and new media-types would have us all believe that the “New Age” began with the innovation of social media, specifically with web sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These “tools” have replaced the long-standing press release as a way of communication with editors and media officials and has streamlined the process of creating exposure for a client.
Now, there is no doubt that social media has changed the way we think. But has it really changed it to a point to where that is the “go-to” for all brands of media? Many industry pundits and the critics of the press release began saying two years ago the press releases will be dead in 36 months. Many have taken it further by saying that if a client cannot state what they have to say in 140 characters or less, then something needs to change. We here at Shazaaam! agree, however, to only an extent. We work hand-in-hand with our sister company Buzzphoria for social media marketing.
But! it is not as cut and dry as some of these pundits and critics might make it out to be. One hundred and forty characters is pushing the concept of brevity. Yes, gone are the days of pages and pages of narrative concerning the client – these days, shorter is acceptable if it contains concise and focused writing; keeping to the point. This more explains and demonstrates the fluid nature of the changing press release. A release losses its professionalism, however, if it is sent via Facebook or Twitter – it loses it exclusivity, making the recipient feel simply like one of many of a blindly sent message, like receiving an advertisement in the mail addressed to “resident.” The media still wants that personal touch and communication, much like the client themselves (They also, FYI, still ask for a press release when contacted). The media does not want to have to rely on their Facebook and Twitter accounts for story ideas – “Hey Buddy, did you see that game last night? By the way, let me tell you about the great changes at Med Tech.” No!
The press release is changing though, much like all industries change over time – this is inevitable; across-the-board. And the press release is no exception in our industry. But it is not dead. It is becoming more brief, more concise with streamlined information “blocks” and multimedia links for the media’s benefit.
It has changed, yes, but not replaced and certainly not dead.