What's a Media Release Today Anyway?

In our shop last week we had an exchange of emails about the nature of a digital news release, with a backdrop of the steady decline of newspaper and broadcast audiences (and influence?) and continuing job cuts and closures in the sector.

Public relations was never synonymous with media relations, media pitching and mass distribution of news releases, in spite of the reductionism tendencies among many communicators. Public relations was always — or should have been — about reaching influencers, persuading interested and involved publics and modifying various consumer behaviors.

Even more so now, though, the old news release and pitch script as the hub of a public relations strategy have had their day. The social web compels a different news distribution model if the goal is to reach influencers and digital news platforms.    

I'll let my articulate colleague and friend Brendan Hodgson tell you what all this means for the digital news release, as he explained in one of his passionately argued emails:

The whole social media/digital press release thing is totally overblown in my view and needs to go away.

The perspective on this should be more far-reaching. It’s about how you structure your newsroom to deliver the content that comprises a story, and how you make that content searchable and accessible — not just the press release.

That said, each press release should incorporate the following as part of the functionality of the newsroom: 

  1. Ability to share and amplify (though as you and I know, very few people actually do it using the typical ‘share’ buttons)
  2. Optimized for search (which includes but goes beyond just the release) – keywords, links to backgrounders, archived content etc.
  3.  Supported by assets that media can use on their own web properties
    • Video | interviews, b-roll, other
    • Graphics | infographics
    • Images
    • Sample tweets
I would also argue that the structure of the press release also needs to change given the digital context — quotes being pulled out, bulleted summaries of the news up front, links to third-parties etc. 

 Well said Brendan.

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