Don’t let the title of this post fool you. I am not gonna hate on the press release. I think it has utility and is still an important arrow in the quiver of PR peeps (especially when multimedia content is included a la SMR or Multimedia Press Release).
That said, I have a few gripes. Here are 7 things I hate about press releases:
1) How they tie to perceptions of my profession. When I tell people what I do for a living, they think my primary purpose is to write, edit and hawk releases.
2) Their role in scoring coverage . Lots of folks think all you have to do to get media coverage is write a release and send it. Things are just a tad more difficult in reality. Just a tad…
3) Their death. ‘New media people’ have been proclaming the ‘death’ of the press release for a long time. Yet, everyday, gazillions of are sent. Maybe these folks’ brains are what’s dead?
4) The fourth estate’s view of releases. Journalists – especially those who go to conferences and sit on those panels where they hate on PR people – always say how much they hate them but, as soon as you speak to them about a news story, they ask, “Do you have a press release?”
5) The number of people it takes to write one. In most organizations, when it is time to send a release, a group larger in number than the signatories of the Declaration of Independence gathers and writes/edits the thing by committee. A really fucking fun process if you work in PR!
6) The quotes! I’ve read enough CEO quotes to believe that anyone who occupies the top job in an organization is always either “thrilled,” “honoured” or “overjoyed” by any piece of positive news and “deeply concerned” or “saddened” by anything negative. Don’t CEO’s have other emotions? Not according to most press releases.
7) The language! Only in a press release will you find the expressions “market leader”, “game changing”, “cutting edge”, and “leveraging core competencies” in the same sentence.
Do you have things that bother you about press releases? If so, please add a comment.