Future of press releases?

For a few years now, Steve Rubel has been something of a guru in terms of public relations and the web, and his blog is required reading. He and colleagues from major PR agency Edelman have just unleashed something called StoryCrafter, which:

basically breaks down a press release into its core parts, leaving it up to you – the journalist (citizen or pro) – to decide how it should be put together. Most importantly, every press release gets feeds, tags, del.icio.us/digg buttons, trackbacks and comments.

There’s an example here. The initial comments aren’t very encouraging, but I think they’re missing the point. This isn’t about a new web tool for creating press notices. It’s about a new way – rather, a new way of presenting them. And good on them for that. In my journalism days, I spent too long deconstructing someone else’s prose, before turning it into my own. The bullet-point approach will make PR people feel less creative, but it’s what their customer ultimately wants. It’s still rough round the edges, but this feels right.

Interesting to see the comments facility; but this should be a perfect situation for trackbacks (effectively ‘other sites linking to this one’) to come into their own.

One thought on “Future of press releases?”

  1. Simon, I humbly disagree. If the ‘customer’ is journalists then different people want different things. For an ‘ordinary’ filler type news story most journalists I deal with want a well written story in their house style where they need to do as little work as possible. On your typical overstretched news desk this leaves them time to research and write their own stories. Bullet points just get in the way of this (how many articles have you ever seen as bullet points?).
    If the ‘customer’ is actually real customers and prospects (which with the internet it frequently is these days) then once again bullet points aren’t a friendly, easy way to present editorial information. If they were then every magazine and newspaper story or article would be like that – your blog would be 😉
    The exciting bit about social media news releases is the extra layers of information it allows you to provide – the choice of photos or quotes, rather than just one you’ve pre-selected.
    The bullet point approach might work with a big news story for national media journalists. But that isn’t new as in the early 90s I was doing releases like that – and offering press kits with a wide selection of photos, illustrations and quotes.

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