Amidst my rants about press releases in general, and SMR (social media releases) in particular, I realize that I may have given the mistaken impression that I do not feel that press releases can be an important part of the communications mix.
Quite the opposite. Despite their drawbacks – it is a tired format that is increasingly looking like an anachronism in this social media-driven age of direct engagement and marketing allergic bloggers – let’s take a look at the press release bright side:
- Press releases are a well-understood and accepted construct for packaging and conveying news.
- There is an ecosystem that supports press releases, ranging from the traditional media that still likes to see news packaged this way, to distribution services, to the search engines that might give extra weight to time sensitive, press release-driven info, to the sites that automatically post these.
- The format is evolving, and some say improving
- Putting your press release on the wire can offer a way for you to connect with your customers as well as the media, and can optimize your website for the search engines by virtue of the links pointing to back to your website.
I have simply tried to get people to look past the press release as the defining metaphor for PR.
The fact that press releases remain relevant – and can be important even in this social media driven age – was demonstrated by the Techmeme Leaderboard, which I read about in the PR 2.0 Blog post: Techmeme Launches top 100 Leaderboard.
Techmeme tracks online conversations and filters these to present the most buzzed about tech stories. Their Leaderboard purports to track online influence in the tech arena by providing a list of the sources that have the greatest share of "headline presence" on Techmeme.
And, surprise, surprise, not only are traditional journalism brands well represented on the Leaderboard, but press release distribution services show up there as well. As Brian Solis writes:
"…New York Times is at
number three, the BBC is at number eight, Infoworld at nine, and The
Wall Street Journal rounds out the number ten position. In fact of the
top 100 online authorities, 26 are traditional journals, magazines and
newspapers with online branches. And, are you ready for this? Two
of the top 100 sources for news are traditional wire services!
BusinessWire, number 29, and PR Newswire, number 38, have been sourced
more for news than ZDNet, PC World, Wired, Washington Post, Forbes,
Bloomberg, and many others."
What is not obvious is the quality of buzz generated by press releases sent over newswires and tracked by Techmeme E.g., are many of the conversations negative? I would not be suprised. However, a quick search for topics initiated by these sources on Techmeme showed this not to be the case, at least not at first glance.