That was the question put to us at the Press Association earlier this week. With almost every PR in the room shooting up their hand in defence of the trusty medium, the arguments put forward by the panel of journalists were a little more questioning.
While in days of old, the press release was the only way to get your news out and you had to spend many a painstaking hour stuffing envelopes only to notice a typo at the last minute, times have changed. Thank goodness. Now our news is much more instantaneous and therefore so must we be.
I must point out at this stage that the overwhelming answer to our question from both PRs and journalists alike was ‘no’, but that doesn’t mean the way we approach press releases hasn’t evolved a little. Every good release still needs the ‘how, what, why, when and where’ aspect but how we tell that story is no longer just text.
As Jim Grice, PA’s own video editor, pointed out ‘why wouldn’t you add value to increase your chances of a story getting picked up?’ With this plea from media for more than just words on a page, many people are rebranding the release the ‘social media release’ but all we mean is simply add different ways of catching attention. For example, adding live links to your client’s social feeds, live links to edited and unedited broll, a selection of photos – screen grabbed to sit within the body of the text for easy viewing and most importantly of all the odd spokesperson comment.
This final point might seem simple, but as the journalists were keen to remind us, it is all too often forgotten. These are all things we think about when approaching a campaign but the key lies in the planning to ensure they all come together to make the biggest impact when it matters most.