Chicago,
27
February
2016
|
07:00 AM
America/Chicago

Grow up! Press Release! Grow up! Grow up! Grow up!

It has been 10 years on the day that Tom Foremski wrote "Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!" His ideas have become a standard part of communications curricula and also led to the whole concept of the ‘Social Media Release.’

Tom Foremski was very clear about what reporters needed from a press release. In his self described ‘surprisingly influential 4 a.m. rant’ about how to improve the press release for the digital newsroom, Foremski’s pledge to PR practitioners was simple: help me do my job as a journalist and reap the benefits of earned media.

Now, 10 years on, his advice is more important than ever. The media beast might be severely understaffed, leading to less earned media conversion from press releases, but there are still reporters out there doing a great job and with the power to heavily influence the masses. And they most surely still consume press releases.

However, not much has changed. A brief glance at the online newsrooms of major brands, that double as their digital repository of press releases, quickly provides the impression that not many corporate communicators have made the effort to capitalize on effective digitalization of the press release. Instead, the portable document format (pdf) is still the most common format for the online corporate newsroom.

A little over a year ago, a study profiled that a whopping 93% of reporters go to company websites to do research, and 77% use the online newsroom as their primary research tool.

Bart Verhulst, Co-founder and CCO of PressPage
From a very practical perspective, we can easily conclude that the press release is not dead. But is surely has not matured either! Often, it seems like the conversion to pdf is the only digitalization it has undergone since its inception in 1906.
Bart Verhulst, Co-founder and CCO of PressPage

From a very practical perspective, we can easily conclude that the press release is not dead. But is surely has not matured either! Often, it seems like the conversion to pdf is the only digitalization it has undergone since its inception in 1906.

In his blog, Foremski’s basic pledge to corporate communicators was to include:

  • Some analyst quotes
  • Customer quotes
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Background info
  • Company blogs
  • Related stories

In essence, these requests are not difficult to include. Not from a content perspective, and most certainly not from a technological perspective. So one would think that many self respecting professional communicators would see the quick gains that could be made with some slight tweaks to the way they present their press releases.

Bart Verhulst, Co-founder and CCO of PressPage
So why is it that the corporate newsroom -- clearly marked as the primary source of information by journalists -- can generically still be categorized as a “press release graveyard”? Why have so few been able to adapt to a more searchable-, social-, image- and video-based environment?
Bart Verhulst, Co-founder and CCO of PressPage

So why is it that the corporate newsroom -- clearly marked as the primary source of information by journalists -- can generically still be categorized as a “press release graveyard”? Why have so few been able to adapt to a more searchable-, social-, image- and video-based environment?

The major part of the problem can be found in the fact that much of a PR pro’s work has turned online. This means that implementing a more digitally savvy press release is -- almost too often -- at the mercy of archaic press release distribution vendors, old web systems and internal processes over which communicators have no say. Many of the applications in place are not specifically built for modern digital PR purposes, and need to be bent and twisted for the job on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, with today’s available technology, there really is no excuse for brands not to sport a more digitally and social savvy online newsroom. Grow up! Press Release! Grow up! Grow up! Grow up!

This article was originally published on LinkedIn on February 27, 2016.

About PressPage

PressPage provides a SaaS PR platform with additional services for creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results. PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness to their daily work routine.