So after all the discussion about Social media press releases from Ralph G at his WorldCADaccess site, I started a little bit of a survey among some of the CAD press to again identify what they do want from a press release.
Firstly, you have to overcome the barriers that the sending of too many press releases have created: Rather than a love-hate relationship with press releases, editors tend to have a hate-hate relationship - they detest receiving them and would rather not be sent them. But then they admit that other than having an announcement slipped under their door in a brown envelope, or by spending much more valuable time on face-to-face meetings, there really is no other way to stay decently informed of the recent news.
But given the resistance already in place, imagine their horror at the idea that social media press releases will not just have the usual hyperbole but will now be littered with additional links where, as one editor responded, they can get 'even more BS' from PR people! (see more balanced info on social media press releases at Future-works' site)
What the editors want are well summarized by one editor as follows: 'I want facts - no hyperbole, no jargon. Is it the first or not? How much does it cost? When will it be available?
That gives me as journalist some help with the key question I ask: why should I/my readers care?"
Most responses were in the same vein, if, at times, less publishable :)
Part of the Confusion here is caused by the fact that many web sites provide direct posting of press releases to web sites, which are then automatically published. Thus, press releases, which used to be seen only by editors, are now a direct B-to-B (or B-to-C) marketing tool. This means that the superlatives and sometimes aberrant claims in press releases are shaped for consumers and customers' eyes. Maybe all the additional links, tags and so on will make the press release a more effective sales tools, although we have yet to see that theory in action to understand its effect.
But having these extra links to 'useful info' then means risk of a further switching-off by editors - who are close to rebelling anyway with the simple mass of press releases received. Does this make them anti-social media?
So I am going to suggest the following: stop calling a customer-targeted press release a "press release". Make it a "public release". Put all the claims, tags, superlatives and PR puff you want on there and, seriously, impress the hell out of the customers. And then bring a 'press' release (i.e. one that goes to the press) back to just the facts - simple, easy to understand and focusing the point to the editor - namely why they should care enough to write it in to their editorial.
One editor did comment that RSS feeds are providing useful information sources, and are probably something that we should truly try and wrap into our PR portfolios...with, of course, just the facts.
Then the only problem is persuading several of the web sites not to post the "press" release (which they have a habit of doing) and only posting the "public" release...this could be more complex than ever!
Comments very welcome