One of the key trends, that were thought to become real in the following years, is the end of press releases. Actually they did say: “press releases will be dead” (some said it was dead years ago). Personally, I agree but not in terms of saying that it is “dead” but I think the original form of press release with no longer be “treasured” and the custom-made press release will somehow replace it.
First of all, I have been working in journalism for 7 years back in my country before I started my study in London, but honestly I have to admit that I rarely opened an email which said “Press release: blah blah blah” in the subject area. The reason was that it was not what I expected to see when I opened my mailbox. It was not catchy, dry and made me feel…well…not special. How many journalists have you sent it to? Am I that easy?
I was joking, but it was real. I think to get your story run on newspapers or magazine, you need more than the word “press release” sitting on your email. I doubt that the journalists would care. They might even “bin” it right away (I did it!) It just feels like you are asked to open a gift from your love (well just a metaphor!) when you already know you’re not the only one who received it (let’s say…100 other girls have that too). That’s not interesting enough, is it?
During my study on PR in London, my first assignment was to write a press release, and try to pitch it to the journalist, while they already have enough crazy things to think about each day. We had to come up with the headlines, the titles, the catchy-paragraphs…but it was still not enough to convince me that press release is still as important as before. Sorry but the golden age of press release has just passed.
Now I think is the period of tailor-made press releases, when you know who you want to run your story then you make the story ready for them. Now is the era of picking the most potential press that you think your audience will be drawn into your story to pitch with them.
“Why don’t we just make a phone call and bombard them with the main idea of the story and hear from them right away?” “Why do we wait for their feedback (if they’re nice enough to reply) in this era of viral videos and social media?” “Will you still run somebody’s story if you know they’ve sent it to hundreds of other journalists?”
In other words, press release did not die. It just transformed its body into another suitable thing.
I think nobody wants to be nobody. We all want to be special, especially when it comes to our jobs or lives. So the fact that a PR practitioner just keeps sending tons of press release without caring whether it would become a coverage or not just felt so unprofessional.