Is the press release dead? According to an article by Advertising Age’s Simon Dumenco, it is.
In the article, Dumenco claims that thanks to Twitter, the press release is no longer a relevant tool to disseminate information. Dumenco says that people have come to rely on Twitter for everything from the latest in celebrity news to crisis communication. In fact, he mentions JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) and BP’s (www.bp.com) failure to utilize Twitter effectively in recent months when they were in the news. In BP’s case, he notes that their PR team chose to send a press release while the world was waiting to hear their official response about the oil spill via Twitter. Meanwhile, a fake Twitter account, @BPGlobalPR, was making a mockery of the company. Dumenco believes these events were the nails in the coffin for the “long-suffering, much-maligned press release.”
Despite Dumenco’s claim that nowadays “140 characters or fewer suffices,” I must disagree. Although I agree that Twitter is an amazing tool for spreading information quickly, it’s not always appropriate. Tweets are great to spark initial conversation, but then I think it’s time for the press release to bring it all together with necessary information and a clearer, well-developed message. It seems almost ludicrous that someone can rely on a tweet to deliver even half of the vital information that a press release can.
Granted, press releases have changed over time. Instead of mailing information the old-fashioned way, we now have the option to send new “social media news releases,” complete with sound, video and other multimedia capabilities. There are also sites like www.pitchengine.com that allow anyone to post releases for the world to see. And partnered with sites like www.muckrack.com, which provides reporters’ Twitter handles, public relations professionals can have the best of both worlds by tweeting links of your published press releases to reporters.
So even though Twitter seems to be the top dog, I think the press release is far from extinct. And by the looks of the comments below Dumenco’s article, I’m not the only one who thinks so.
What are your thoughts?