THE PRESS RELEASE – CEASED 2016
In the ever-evolving world of public relations, one thing has always remained constant – the trusty press release. I never studied PR at university, but I can only imagine the hours of lectures/seminars dictating students how to write ‘the perfect press release’, even when I first started in the profession I spent hours drafting releases only for them to be checked and amended again and again until what I initially wrote had no semblance of the original piece I’d written. Any spelling/grammar error made would then be fined 20p, popped in a jar, then emptied weekly for the first round of Friday afterwork beers.
We’ve all read enough articles on millennials or either generation X, Y or Z to know that we’re now living in an instant age, where media, information and even Game of Thrones are all being digested by consumers within minutes of it going live. So does the much dependable press release have a place in modern comms?
At ALTER, we try to educate our accounts that gaining name-checks in media may not actually make a difference to their business needs, instead strategic communication campaigns is required to make a difference and achieve success. Of course strategy and insight should always come first, but after trying to implement comms plans months after they were first thought up, it’s easier to simply revert back to sending a post-event press release to outlets you know you can guarantee coverage in. This may be because either because the client can no longer implement the activity as first agreed, the focus of activity has changed or because of budgetary constraints. However we believe this shouldn’t be an excuse.
If press releases are no longer as effective, then what other ‘tools’ can a PR use? Sometimes, name checks in national press or media outreach might not be necessary at all. Engaging social media campaigns or hosting an engaging experiential event for a few important can be as efficient as any other communications campaign – it all boils back down to understanding your clients problem and working backwards on the best strategy to achieve success.
As much as I enjoy correcting my colleagues’ work and mocking the grammar they employ, both clients and PR’s should not be afraid to activate away from the traditional the press release. Plus it means we can get rid of that office Fines Jar.