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Brad Brenner

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Rule breaking revisited

Tips for press release writingSeveral months ago I posted a blog entry about the value of rule breaking.  It provided several examples of companies that changed the entire game of marketing by going against the grain and doing things that they were told should never be done (i.e. directly mentioning competitors, using negative language, constant logo changing).

I’ve also harangued before about the changing use of press releases. If your marketing agency still follows the old rules of writing and distributing these potentially valuable marketing tools, I suggest they need to enter the digital age and get you opportunities you are currently missing. 

But you can’t blame them completely. Some of the most vocal “experts” in press release writing continue to advocate old rules in a changing environment – even when it is against there own best interest. 

Earlier this morning, I came across a blog post from e.releases, an online press release distribution company – and hence a company that you would presume would advocate sending out as many releases as possible. Still, their post provided tips on press release writing that included, among other things, ensuring newsworthiness and removing “fluff.” As the writer explains, the purpose of a press release is to “tease a reporter into asking for more information.” 

As my follow up comment stated, I believe that this is old thinking. In the digital age of marketing a press release can do that…and so much more. Therefore, old rules regarding their content needs to be reexamined.  You can read the original post here, a way earlier post specifically about new rules in press release writing here, and my comments below. 

What do you think? 

My Comment

Wrong! This might have been true ten years ago but things change – and thinking marketers need to periodically reexamine the rules to make sure they are still relevant. 

There was a time when “newsworthiness” was critical to press release content. That was when editors were the gatekeepers of the news and a press release was used solely as a tool to gain their interest. Today, reporters no longer hold the keys to the city of distribution and press releases (our agency now calls them “news releases”) can serve a variety of purposes: show company momentum, increase visibility, grow market share, increase web traffic and page rankings and EVEN (heaven help us…here it comes..) sell stuff! Once a heresy in the old PR bible, we are now creating news releases that include links to “special offers” and discounts…and they work (just ask WebEx and Cisco among others). 

Now would I send a “marketing” news release to a reporter? No. Would I send it to customers or post it on my website and send it out over an Internet distribution service? You bet. 

Great thinkers know the rules and know when to break them. I’ve posted several examples of rule breakers that have change the course of marketing forever. Press release “newsworthiness,” and eliminating marketing “fluff” are old rules that should be reconsidered. There was a time when the only purpose of a press release was to (as this post claims) “tease reporters into asking for more information.” But if that is the only way your communications agency is using them today, then you are missing out on some valuable opportunities.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Brad Brenner

Brad Lee Brenner is a master blogger, radio host and founder of Brenner Associates, a public relations / communications firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Over the past thirty years, Brad has written hundreds of articles that have been published in trade journals, newspapers and online news sources. His focus of expertise includes technology, the medical industry and communications for the digital age.