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It's JerryTime and the Fate of Press Releases


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September 08, 2006

It's JerryTime and the Fate of Press Releases

Heather Green

I found a recent turn of events very intriguing, given all the debate around whether blogs spell the end end of the press release. I admit that I always find it curiouse, after a briefing with a startup about an upcoming technology or announcement, to have them insouciantly say, oh, and when we make the announcement, it will be on the blog. And they mean, only on the blog.

Yet, in a twist, one of the most innovative video blogs out there--It's JerryTime--just yesterday starting sending releases to alert folks to its latest episodes.

Call me old fashioned or maybe just cautious. But I think that doing both press releases and blogs makes sense, not one over the other. Blogs transfer information pretty efficiently, but they don't always get it out past a certain group of people. Not all companies or industries are actually great fits right now for blogs. And practically, I still find archives of press releases a good informational resource--even if it turns out what the company was trumpeting turned out to be false.

09:00 AM

marketing

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Lies, as techies might say, are platform agnostic.

Posted by: steve baker at September 8, 2006 09:51 AM

Heather - Funny you should bring this up. Your take on it is also refreshing.

Anytime someone claims one technology will eliminate another, I always smile. In marketing communications, the new technology usually just forces the old one to adapt and differentiate itself.

The biggest problem with news releases is not the format, it's the content.

At The Bad Pitch Blog, the other big problem I see is that PR people ask the news release to do too much. It's background material. It's not a pitch.

Thanks for weighing in on this topic.

Posted by: Kevin Dugan at September 8, 2006 11:02 AM

As a PR guy with a blog, one of my favorite new communications twists is getting "pitches" from media bloggers to check out something they posted.

As for press releases, there will always be some form of them. But, the format and style should absolutely adapt to the Web 2.0 age eventually. (probably be when we are at 4.0 or so)

Posted by: Sean Garrett at September 8, 2006 11:30 AM

"Not all companies or industries are actually great fits right now for blogs."

Gimme an AMEN!

Companies and PR people that tout blogs and other social media, or discount them entirely are out of whack. Or, are in need of a good whack.

Both news releases and other traditional media relations and new media like blogs work -- depending on who you are looking to target. Sometimes (like many of the B2B companies I work with), a news release is perfect and using a blog (even if they knew what a blog is) is not a good fit.

For others, you need a blend.

It's not about touting one method over the other. It's about doing the methods that are effective to communicate with your audience.

Great common sense post, Heather.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Driehorst at September 8, 2006 01:10 PM

I agree with your point--press releases and blogs serve different purposes. And just because something is in a blog doesn't mean it will be seen. Using every type of cross-promotion, both between press releases and blogs, and commercial websites and blogs, and from blogs to blogs, makes a lot of sense to me.

Posted by: John Caddell at September 8, 2006 01:13 PM

This also relates to two of Stephen's previous posts Irreversible Processes (http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/blogspotting/archives/2006/08/irreversible_pr.html) and Blogs as History (http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/blogspotting/archives/2006/08/blogs_as_histor.html).

Companies only posting information on blogs can, without any difficulty, change a launch date, product details, etc. all in the name of ensuring the information presented is accurate in the event someone accesses that single entry. Blogs are intended to be living 'documents,' unencumbered by the realities of paper and ink.

While changing a press release hosted on a company's site may follow the same steps from a technical standpoint most responsible execs would at least think twice about changing details in a document normally considered permanent. This would be particularly true, if it was distributed through a mass mailing, PR Newswire, BusinessWire, etc.

This is probably just bias due to the names assigned to each type of document - even wire services allow for corrections within a specified time period, but if it makes companies more responsible and accountable I'm all for it.

Posted by: Dave at September 8, 2006 01:30 PM

heather - i've followed that discussion all over the internet and decided to do a "social media press release" (a la PR Squared's template)for Chevrolet - Gen Y will create Chevy's 2007 Super Bowl Ad - here's the press release

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/9/prweb435099.htm.

but we also have a regular press release - I think you have to do it all anymore to reach as many people as you can - p.s. chevy's also running a blog to give students advice and updates - www.chevycollegead.com thanks, Nellie

Posted by: nellie lide at September 8, 2006 02:53 PM

Hi, Heather,

Like you, we believe it's not either/or relating to press releases or blogs. The new world of communications is wonderful and fascinating, and allows a kind of transparency the world has never known before. But communications still need to be managed within the available media. I am not speaking as just a professional communicator in today's environment, but if you go all the way back to the pyramids, you will understand that even back then, messages were communicated in multiple ways to ensure they were understood and heard. Blogs may be today's pyramids, but the message still benefits from being communicated in the "local market" as well.

Posted by: Abigail Johnson at September 11, 2006 04:59 PM

People who only use blogs or their web sites to distribute press releases prefer to stay under the radar.

Almost anyone who's subscribed to a digital edition of a newspaper or newsletter in lieu of a printed and mailed edition knows that digital editions get very little readership.

Personally, I seldom go to my paid digital edition of IBD, and I seldom click on links in e-mails sent by various magazines. Yes, I go to the web sites of a few major papers and a few blogs, but, for some reason, I don't go to corporate web sites unless I'm searching for information. And that seldom happens.

So, if I were at the SEC, I would not accept the posting of a news release on a corporate blog or web site as fulfilling full disclosure requirements.

Posted by: Donald E. L. Johnson at September 12, 2006 08:15 PM

Great point Heather, particularly: "Not all companies or industries are actually great fits right now for blogs."

One thing I've found (I am a PR person) is that bloggers have begun to take themselves a bit too seriously and see the medium as "revolutionary". Hey, I love to blog, but there remains room for other mediums!

KFF

Posted by: Kyle at March 13, 2007 09:25 AM


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