December 2, 2013

On a mission to kill the press release

by admin in News

One of the things that Coca-Cola’s digital chief, Ashley Brown, was able to attribute the success of their recent campaign “Sharing Can” to, was their very own newsroom – a place where people who had journalism backgrounds held daily meetings at 9am to plan content – often on the fly. He also announced that Coke has embarked on a goal of reducing press releases by half this year and getting rid of them entirely by 2015.

“I’m on a mission,” Brown was quoted saying, “What I want to do is kill the press release.”

Frankly, I couldn’t agree more with his approach.

often get asked to create press releases for clients to announce a new solution, partnership, appointment or a client win. Which is fine and easy to do with all the right information and access to the right people – but often I find myself staring at the open Word doc in front of me and I wonder, are we really expecting to generate widespread brand awareness and encourage conversation that speaks to our target audience with this press release?

There have been three amazing contributions to the world of PR. It started with the typewriter, then the TV, and today, we have the Internet. Even with these communication tools, at the end of the day it’s all about story-telling and creating content that appeals to your audience.

The way I see it is that you must offer content that would capture your audiences’ interests and imagination —  which means a “one size fits all” approach that is the press release, may no longer suffice.

As PR practitioners we need to challenge ourselves, and our clients, to think beyond the press release.

A tailored pitch gets attention – content is structured and the information is highly relevant to the audience. Whether it’s a 1:1 interview with a spokesperson or a case study, an infographic or even a one minute video, journalists and their audiences are more likely to open their eyes and ears to your message when it is tailored to them and not a group email “designed” to appeal to the masses.

Sure, we can argue that there is a time and place for press releases – when you want to make an official statement or if you need to report your financial figures for example – but if the press release is your ONLY (gasp!) and primary means of generating media opportunities for your client, I recommend taking a closer look into your current PR strategy before you find yourself alone with loads of Word docs and no coverage or conversation to show for it.

At Red Agency, we have two key principles in our approach to communication, the provision of:

1. A great news story, and 2. A great package.

The world of communication has changed. The Red Agency 3C model for successful PR communication is to deliver strategies and ideas that deliver:

  • Great Content (experiential, digital, research, imagery, video etc),
  • Great Conversation (whether this be digital or via direct interface etc) ,
  • Great Coverage (digital, print or broadcast).

Our campaigns are devised to be deliberately shareable, whether it comes in the form of an experiential, social media campaign, infographic, content video and yes – sometimes even a press release. We want people to talk about, comment and interact with our campaigns.

To learn more about Red Agency’s 3C approach, contact us on 02 9963 7744.

Written by Account Director Elizabeth McKenzie