Tom Foremski at SiliconValleyWatcher has had another one of his rants about the PR industry and press releases. I’m amused by his reference to press releases which is one of my pet peeves. NEWS releases are what I’ve written my whole career. It’s an in your face reminder that it must always contain news and that you’re not just dealing with the press but the media.
Tom’s idea of ‘tagging’ news releases (or at least his version of them) is an interesting one. Except that it’s not particularly new. Way back in 2001 XPRL.org was set up to develop mark-up standards for the public relations industry. I’m not entirely sure what happened to it. Perhaps David Phillips can enlighten us, as he was one of the original leading lights.
The key to understanding the problem with Tom’s approach is in his tagline "Former FT reporter….". A news release is the LAST possible tool I would think of using in order to get coverage in the Financial Times. That would partially explain Tom’s antipathy towards news releases.
But the point is that news releases are still one of the best tools for reaching hundreds of other journalists that are less high-profile. A news release can still get a client very good coverage in hundreds of trade magazines and regional newspapers that are extremely important to them.
It’s horses for courses Tom. Your approach might suit you and others like you, but not the vast majority of journalists I deal with. The key to good media relations is understand your audience and tailor your approach to suit what they want.