The press release diet: A 12-step program

You can do it. It will take some will power, along with a dozen helpful hints. Come on. Now is the time.

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While you’re fanning yourself in horror, let me explain. This idea stems from two separate trains of thought.

The first is my conviction that not enough communications shops are using social media to replace old and outdated practices in communications, instead piling on social tasks along with the traditional to-do list.

The second is the persistent drumbeat I hear from reporters who keep telling me how overwhelmed they are with press releases—press releases that rarely wind up generating press coverage, because they’re not newsworthy, too long, or have been sent to reporters who will never, ever use them because they don’t cover anything remotely like what’s in the release.

Are some news releases full of real news and fiber? Sure, but most are not.

I’ve been wondering for some time whether the press release was dead, but communicators keep defending and issuing them, and reporters keep deleting, ignoring, and not using them. Instead of listening to that feedback, an entire industry of activity has sprung up around the reporters’ persistent ignoring of press releases.

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