The Press Release is Dead: Long Live the Tweet

Article presented to you by Maximus. Strategic Consulting. 

By: Michael Ehrlich, @MichaelEhrlich 

This is an exciting time for brand storytellers with the rise of social media as the go-to news-making platform, expanding and diversifying the communications industry as a whole.

The media landscape in general and the editorial news cycle in particular has evolved from a focus on long-lead and daily print opportunities to instantaneous news that breaks with a thumb click on a button.

To be successful today, public relations professionals must embrace this evolution and in turn, question traditional communication strategies and tactics, specifically the form and function of the press release.

The first press release was printed in the New York Times some 110 years ago but unfortunately the antiquated format is reflected in many versions still used today. In certain corporate brand instances a press release is indeed appropriate, but storytellers should focus on creating and utilizing unique PR assets to break through the crowded space of the 24/7/365 news cycle. 

Media today simply do not have time to read through a long corporate press release to determine if a story is worth exploring and ultimately covering. The editorial cycle is rapid and reporters now compete against anyone and everyone with a cell phone and WIFI service to break news, 140 characters at a time.  This storytelling competition grows stronger by the day; consequently PR professionals must adapt to guarantee their stories stand out and ultimately garner editorial coverage.

So what are some easy initial steps for PR pros today?  First, don’t consider your PR and social media teams separate entities. They should work and act as one storytelling unit by building communication plans in unison. Leverage your brand social platforms as PR tools, plain and simple. 

Instead of leading with a formal press release to announce your news, explore using social as your main storytelling vehicle, driving media eyes to your interactive content on those spaces.  Mirroring your brand’s social voice and vernacular within your PR communication will only help your key messaging stick.  Additionally, using your brand’s social accounts as story launchpad will ultimately lead to media and consumers alike viewing the brand overall as its own newsmaker. That would be a huge win in the crowded storytelling space.

Throw out the old press release format and look toward the future of communications by drafting snackable and sharable PR copy that efficiently highlights your brand’s message, while giving reporters the opportunity to quickly review, digest and post on their channels.

The fusion of traditional editorial and social media will continue to grow each day, so be proactive in exploring new ways to communicate your stories to media and consumers. The opportunities for unique PR strategy, asset creation and execution are endless once you look outside the traditional communication school of thought and align with your social counterparts. Be bold, take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, and evolve as a seasoned storyteller.

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