The Death of the Press Release?

January 25th, 2007   •   2 comments   

Read this post by Long Tail’s Chris Anderson about how social media relations brings a different dimension compared to traditional mainstream media PR. He blogs about the dilemma faced by traditional PR practitioners as captured by this quote:

“So now imagine that you’re one of those PR professionals. What do you do? Stick with the world you know, and continue calling and emailing releases to the traditional press (trying not to notice that their ranks are shrinking and influence waning)? Start spamming bloggers, too, and hope for the best? Or just treat alpha bloggers like traditional press and shower them with love, while ignoring the rest?”

His suggestion to evolve the role of PR from external relations to internal relations is radical. Can we as PR professionals coach the numerous employees in our organisation to do the outreach through their respective social media channels instead of doing it ourselves? Chris suggested some possible topics for coaching:

  • Who’s influential in our space (and how we know)
  • What/who influences them
  • How to get Digged
  • Effective blogging
  • Using beta-test invite lists as marketing
  • The art of begging for links
  • Stunts, contests, gimmicks, memes and other link bait.
  • Sharing versus oversharing. How to know when what you’re doing is ready to talk about.

In Singapore, I feel that the social media landscape is still at its infancy. Certainly PR practitioners must acknowledge the impact of the blogosphere on the way news and information gets disseminated.

However, unless you can offer something that is totally radical, tech geek related, or sensational, it is not easy to get the blogosphere buzzing about you. You still need to hustle, cajole, nudge and pitch to the doyens of mainstream press. The suggestion on getting every employee in the company to be a spokesperson though is rather refreshing and something which I would strongly advocate in the years to come.


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  1. posted on Jan 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    I seriously don’t think mainstream (offline) press release media will die out.

    First, take for example Straits Times. The newspaper carries clout not only because it is established for over a century, also because its quality and character is maintained by authorized (or centralized) control, not like the free-wheeling Internet.

    Second, press release distributors like has extensive networks of news media institutions around the world and they spread news just as quickly as viral marketing, spam…whatever you call it. Once the journalists pick up your article, the effect and recognition on your business cannot be discounted.

    The fact that someone wrote about the Long Tail signifies that it has fully arrived and it heralds the Age of Customization: people now know exactly what they want, and the providers who can give exactly what consumers want earn their trust and relationship in less time. That’s the power of the Internet now, via the search engines.

    The newspapers can’t provide that customization x-factor or choice, however, they can survive because of their online edition (don’t forget this!). It may take another day or 2 later to publish selected news on print, but maybe it doesn’t matter much now.

    The point is: if New York Times got wind of who are you and what are you all about, their subscribers will know in a matter of time, and that is all we should be happy and grateful about.

    My 2 cents worth. Thanks!

    best regards,
    Nelson Tan

  2. posted on Jan 27, 2007 at 2:41 PM

    Thanks Nelson for your comments and also for visiting. I certainly agree that the days of the press release are alive and healthy in Singapore.

    As somebody who has cut his teeth on PR for the last 10 years of his working life, I can sense that there is going to be a change in how media relations should be conducted. The main point is in stories that are unusual, interesting and that will resonate with readers or viewers. Increasingly more and more reporters look upon the blogosphere for story leads and it will be foolish for PR practitioners to ignore this.

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