The humble press release turned 112 this year, and a few people have used this occasion to commemorate its passing.
Does the press release have problems and need to evolve? Yes. Is it dead? No.
The A4 page with a header, content, contacts and boilerplate hasn’t evolved in a recognizable form since Ivy Lee and the Pennsylvania Railroad issued the first release in 1906. Press Releases are no longer delivered by messenger boy, but the basic format and content delivery has remained the same despite transmission moving to the postal system, fax system and most recently, email.
This humble medium of communication will be preserved for some time yet because it is an incredibly efficient manner of transmitting information to media, a blank canvas to develop and massage your message and a medium to align the various stakeholders whose input is required.
As a result, the bones of your press release will almost always be as much copy as you can cram into a single piece of A4 paper.
It’s the packaging which needs to evolve. Your press release needs to incorporate the content which a journalist needs to access to cover your story, such as pictures, video and audio, in a compelling, easy to use press package. You need to be providing as easy access as possible to your spokespeople as possible, and helping media get through to the right person in your team to discuss the story – not the first person who answers the phone.
And you need the right tools to do this.
For the press releases’ 113th birthday, I hope that you join us at Public Address on this journey of evolution, keeping the core of the press release intact, but helping it grow and mature into a format more appropriate for the 21st Century.
For more information on how the press release is evolving and changing, get in touch at [email protected]