Thursday, January 18, 2007

How We Release News

There's a battle going on in the New Media community right now about the best way for companies to release news. Brian Solis, principal at Futureworks PR, does a fine job of laying out the battlefield in a recent article.

Two things I'd like to point out about this. First, there's a New Media community. This is great! It means that there exists a group of forward-thinking professioanls who are out there actively working to make the business of public relations (or media relations or new media or social media or whatever) better. I've been quietly watching these folks for a while now and I'm very impressed.

I can say that here because none of them read this blog. I write here primarily for the benefit of the financial services industry and the folks working hard here to effectively communicate their corporate stories.

The second thing about the battle between new media release proponents and those that favor the traditional press releases is that it probably shouldn't matter much to you at this point. In the end, and Solis alludes to this in his article, it won't matter what tool you use to communicate with your audience if the content isn't meaningful to them. In the end, either you make a connection, start a conversation and then build a relationship or you won't achieve your goals.

Solis has a better way of putting this: "Engage or die."

Heh. I like that. For those of you working on the B2B side, traditional press releases are going to be more effective in the short term, if you're targeting journalists. And you have to target them. There are other good tools you'll be using to get to your prospects, but they probably won't include new media press releases at this point.

Now, those of you actually providing banking or mortgage products to consumers had better start looking into these new types of news releases. More folks are turning to press releases on the Web (which are served up free of charge by their favorite search engines) to get their news. If you're still writing the stilted, adjective-heavy press releases you send to journalists (who cut that stuff all out anyway), you'd better start looking at better ways to tell your stories in the news release format.
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