2012: End of the News Release

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Not really, but after watching the excellent disaster flick 2012 I couldn’t resist the doomsday headline.

The news release is perhaps the most abused PR tactic. The next time you set out to tackle writing one, consider the following.

#1 It’s a fact sheet. The purpose of a corporate news release is to verify facts and provide useful quotes for context. Oracle’s streamlined format is the best example of the modern news release. Why aren’t more companies following this model?

#2 Feature news lends itself more successfully to a tailored pitch in an email, on the phone or over coffee/cocktails. Better yet, write a byline for an industry publication. Then post that to the corporate Web site and pitch the story again. Most features are evergreen anyway. Spend less time writing the news release and more time selling the story.

#3 Relationships, not news releases, sell stories. Sure I’ve written news releases that have gotten “picked up.” In fact, when I lived in Southeast Asia, the practice was called “envelop journalism.” The fun and thrill of the PR business is the interaction with the reporters and editors, not spamming a release to hundreds of media outlets.

#4 It’s beyond time to go digital. Multimedia news releases have been around for a decade or longer. What better way to help animate your Web site or newsroom? Adding a video clip is simple and low cost. Start by buying a Flip video camera.

Remember, the news release is only one of many tools available for a successful public relations campaign. When used effectively with other tactics, it is the most effective way to share the facts.

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