One of the best lines I have read in a while, I found online in a forum for Public Relations professionals recently. It said, “P.R. does not stand for ‘Press Release.'” I love it.
I have long said that the press release is the most overrated media relations tool. I am amazed by how many people, when they hear what I do for a living, respond by saying, “So, you write press releases?”That is actually a very small part of what we do. But, frequently, our time is spent (often misspent) with non-communicators inside client organizations who obsess over press releases.
As a former journalist and after more than a decade in PR management, I can tell you that a press release can be among valuable tools in getting facts straight. In a page or two, a good release can help journalists use accurate numbers, make sure names are spelled correctly, get basic questions answered and, in the age of constant deadlines with fewer resources, even get a couple of basic quotes.
But a press release is NOT a piece of currency that buys news coverage. Writing and editing press releases should not be the most time consuming portion of a campaign. The vast majority of releases sent out every day never receive any coverage. And news stories that appear every day never involve a press release.
Many of the best results we achieve for our clients do not involve a release. They do include a powerful combination of actual news, relationships, skill and, most importantly, sound strategy.