News releases or blog posts: What is the future of media relations?

Tue, Nov 19, 2013

Blogging, Online marketing strategy, PR

In starting work with a new start-up client recently, the question came up: Do we really need news releases? Couldn’t we just share news on our blog instead? Isn’t that more efficient and effective–especially for a smaller business?

It’s a good question and one all small, mid-sized and large businesses should be considering.

And the answer was more obvious than I thought for this particular client situation.

newspapers

The blog route was clearyl the way to go–and my client agreed with me. Here’s why I made the suggestion–and why maybe you should start considering the approach:

More story–less “news release”

Does anyone like to read news releases? Even journalists? I realize the point is to get media the news and information they need to report and “cover” whatever news it is you are sharing. But, isn’t it also about the story you’re trying to tell? Doesn’t a blog post make it a bit easier to tell that story?

Easier to incorporate visuals

Embedding visuals–photos and videos–is much easier to do in a “blog post” than it is in a hard copy or even web-based news release. For anyone who’s operated in WordPress, you know it’s just a few simple clicks and voila–your visual is embedded. With web-based systems, it can sometimes be a little tougher. And, keep in mind, sometimes that also requires you to go through your Web team, which is a pointless process with the technology (like WordPress) now available to you as PR teams. And, for smaller clients, it’s just a much easier CMS to work within.

Forces you to shorten your pitches

This is one of the bigger payoffs, in my view. With a traditional news release, you’re pitching the reporter and sending the entire news release, right? Or, an attachment, which is worse. If you were using a blog to share your news, your pitch could be a short paragraph long with a link to the post for more details/visuals. Isn’t that what journalists always want? Shorter pitches? It’s a win-win. They get shorter pitches which are easier/faster to sift through. And you get to link them directly to your blog/newsroom where they can get all sorts of information about your company, product or service.

Easier to share online

Sure, online web-based newsrooms could do that same thing. But judging from those I’ve seen, they don’t. With a blog, it’s uber-easy to add social share buttons right at the top of the story/post. Make it easy to share–remember, these posts will serve as more than “news releases”. They’re also stories that are meant to be shared by employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Measurement is easier, too

This might be the biggest benefit of all. By using a blog as the home base for your news, you can track every unique visitor, every page view, every eyeball via Google Analytics (or other blog/web monitoring software). And, in a day and age when clients/companies are asking for more metrics and data on their PR efforts, isn’t this worth it alone?

Note: Photo courtesy of Hamed Saber via FlickR Creative Commons.

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4 comments
LynneBoschee
LynneBoschee

This is the first "the news release is dead" story that actually suggests a new way of doing things, and one that is strategic and makes sense. Well done. 

TomMartin
TomMartin

Interesting Arik.... so the question becomes, are reporters ready to/know how to use blog posts vs news releases? Also, how do you get the blog post in the hands of the reporter? 

 

The machine of publicity would seem to remain the same (outreach by PR) this just changes the format of the end product? So in that case, does it save time, money, ??? 

 

 

TomMartin
TomMartin

yes and a sneaky way to expose them to other content that may be interesting or spark a story idea... outside of the current one... 

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

 @TomMartin In terms of how do you get the posts in the hands of the reporters, I think you still pitch them. But the pitches become much shorter, pointing to the full post for more info. I'm not sure using a blog as your new news release saves time or money (perhaps a bit, but I'm pretty sure it shouldn't add costs), but it should help on the measurement side. And I like the idea of driving people to a more interactive environment than a traditional news release.

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  2. […] blog post today from Arik Hanson’s blog “Communications Conversations” titled News releases or blog posts: What is the future of media relations? In it, he suggests that companies and individuals hoping to gain attention through the media […]