100th Anniversary of the Press Release

Marketwire notes that today is the 100th anniversary of the Press Release, which they attribute to Ivy Lee in 1906.  Yawn…

They do make note that today’s press releases don’t need to be limited to 400 words and carry the following advice:

“Press releases are no longer just a few hundred words on paper targeted at a single end user,” said Paolina Milana, vice president of Marketing and Media Relations for Market Wire. “Today’s releases are incredibly interactive and engaging. They’re also viral. To have, as we do in this very release, an embedded video clip and hyperlinked keywords via our SEO Enhanced product, and then an upload to social media sites that allow for online communities to participate and even make news, is testament to just how far the press release has come. Market Wire has always been at the forefront of innovation being credited as the first newswire to utilize the Internet as a means of distribution. In terms of innovation, tech-savvy service and product development, we’re a modern-day Ivy Lee.”

Excellent suggestions, but I still think you’ve got to have relevance.  Firing press release after press release does little if there’s no reason to read the thing.  Pablum is as pablum tastes.  Publicity is important, but if you’re standing on the soap box expecting me to listen, you darned well better have something important to say.

3 Replies to “100th Anniversary of the Press Release”

  1. You can do exactly what Marketwire is suggesting AND have relevance, by writing direct-to-consumer press releases.

    In fact, I recommend that people write two or more versions of a release depending on who it’s for–traditional media, or consumers who might find it online.

    Both must be relevant. But both of them don’t necessarily have to include what journalists refer to as “legitimate news.”

    A company can write a press release about how one of its products solves a problem consumers are facing. Journalists might deem that release unworthy of their time and attetnion. But consumers might find it online, click through to the company’s website and buy–even though not one jouralists ever picked up the story.

  2. I agree with Jean. “Marketing by Press Release” doesn’t get you any press coverage if you don’t have a real story to tell, but even the few on-the-wire pickups that result may get picked up in a search,a longer version of the release is good web-site fodder, etc. One note on “press releases can be over 400 words”: you may be paying by the word to get your message out, so don’t lard the release up with too much unnecessary “gunk”.

  3. I completely agree. If you’ve got a compelling story, it’s one thing. The thing I rebel against is the idea that “we need to keep up a steady flow of news” even when there isn’t. Even worse are the press releases that read as though they’ve been written in code, dancing around a story they really aren’t ready to tell.

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