Monday, July 25, 2005

PR exec: "Let's stop writing press releases"

Public-relations provocateur Amy Gahran is suggesting something interesting at her blog these days - that PR execs should simply do away with press releases altogether. For those who don't know, a "press release" is a highly formalized document, in use in the business world for decades upon decades now, in which a company basically writes a fake news story trumpeting some new feature or product by that company; that document then gets shipped out like chemical warfare to thousands upon thousands of media outlets, in the hopes that they will run the release as an actual news item. The problem, of course, is that media outlets receive thousands upon thousands of these press releases on a monthly basis, most of which can and rightly should be ignored by them, leading to the power of any one particular release being diminished profoundly in the times we now live. Ms. Gahran argues that the standardized press release has simply become a dead format in our modern times, and that PR execs are basically wasting a lot of time and money sending them out anymore; she encourages the PR industry to instead do what a lot of business people are being urged to do these days, which is to build a legitimate relationship with the media outlets they are trying to manipulate. It's an intiguing concept to be sure, and worth your attention if you are a fellow business person. (Thanks to Steve Rubel for bringing this to my attention.)