As the web has evolved, so have the press releases we write. There are still those out there who are quick to dismiss traditional PR altogether, and that includes the press release. The last time I wrote about this topic was back when I started this blog and you can refer to that post here http://bit.ly/qd3ebx. When I first spoke about this topic I mentioned how PR practitioners were increasingly turning to email versions and making their sent copies into unique presentations that command attention. What’s changed since then? More formats have come about and that means different ways to present press releases and make them stand out. Kevin Roose and Peter Lattman showcase this point, discussing how press releases have now found their way into blog posts, tweets and haiku formats http://nyti.ms/nqLbjG. Here is a recount of their examples:
- When Google bought Zagat, Google announced the addition via a blog entry titled “Google Just Got Zagat-Rated!” Meanwhile, Zagat told its website visitors via a mock review of Google using their 30-point system and quote-heavy style.
- Groupon changed up their press release by using casual language, mentioning that it had raised “like, a billion dollars” in its latest finance round.
- Zynga used a witty lead “What do Shrek and FarmVille have in common (besides donkeys and onions)?” to announce the hiring of DreamWorks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenburg to its board.
- Marissa Mayer, Google’s top executive for local and location services, used a Twitter haiku to announce Google’s Zagat buy: “Acquisition announcement haiku: Delightful deal done, Zagat and Google now one; foodies have more fun!”
Now this approach isn’t for everyone. It’s important to take note of the tone of your company, as in some places it’s more of a match for company culture than at others. As if different formats weren’t enough to consider, Google News has a new feature that lets publishers flag their best content and standout in search results http://bit.ly/oFCkNw. It can also be used to flag others’ content when they have a good scoop. Oddly enough, the new feature is called “Standout” and it’s a tag (basic syntax:
<link rel="standout" href="LINK TO STORY" />)that goes in the “head” element of a website’s HTML code. This type of content is displayed with a ‘featured’ label on Google News’s homepage as well as in search results. It’s truly the other part of the equation. You have key words, but those only take you so far. Facebook’s newsfeed highlights top stories, and Google now does the same, but instead it gives publishers the ability to highlight their own content in the vast feed of links generated by search.
Hence, there are still many ways to make press release content stand out. Wit, jokes, puns, blog entries, tweets, haiku or flagging content, all are clever ways to break through the clutter and get your message across. The press release is still alive and kicking, and format opportunities are endless. As long as there are more opportunities, press releases will exist. I’m not the only one who shares this viewpoint. Recently, Vanessa Horwell stated in her article that PR peeps should “…not turn their back on traditional media. Not yet….While the media pie has gotten bigger and there are more pieces to cut, you never know when you might need them” http://bit.ly/r6sUV1. She closes by saying they should “…see how the future media chain links connect and how that affects the destiny of traditional media before we sever those ties for good.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. The times may be changing, but they aren’t changing so fast that they have outgrown traditional media. There is clearly a time and a place for it, and with that, a time and a place for some form of a press release.