Don’t let the title of this post fool you. I’m not going to hate on the press release. I think it has utility and is still an important arrow in the PR pro’s quiver—especially when multimedia content is included.
But nothing’s perfect. Here are seven gripes about press releases.
1. The misinformed perception they create for my chosen profession.
When I tell people what I do for a living, they think my primary purpose is to write, edit, and hawk releases. If only it were that easy.
2. Their role—or lack thereof—in scoring coverage.
Lots of folks think all you have to do to score media coverage is write a release and send it. Things are a tad more difficult in reality. Just a tad.
3. The rumors of their death.
“New media people” have been proclaiming the “death” of the press release for a long time. Yet, everyday gazillions of are sent. Maybe these folks’ judgment is what’s dead.
4. The Fourth Estate’s view of them.
Journalists, especially those who sit on those panels where they hate on PR people, usually say how much they despise them, but as soon as you speak to them about a news story they ask, “Do you have a press release?”
5. The number of people it takes to write one.
When it is time to send a release at most organizations, a group larger than the signatories of the Declaration of Independence gathers and writes/edits the thing by committee. A really f***ing fun process if you work in PR!
6. The quotes.
I’ve read enough CEO quotes to believe that anyone who occupies the top job in an organization is always “thrilled,” “honored,” or “overjoyed” by any positive news, and “deeply concerned” or “saddened” by anything negative. Don’t CEOs have other emotions? Not according to most press releases.
7. The language.
Only in a press release will you find the expressions “market leader,” “game-changing,”“cutting-edge,” and “leveraging core competencies” in the same sentence.
What bothers you about press releases?
A version of this story originally ran on the blog Proper Propaganda