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10 Signs of Life from the News Release

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[ Social Media]

Our favorite format isn’t dead; it’s just abused more than Ronn Torossian at a Gawker staff meeting.

Here are 10 sure signs the news release is alive and kicking ass.

1) Berkshire Hathaway Acquired BusinessWire: Warren Buffet buys what he believes in. How else do you explain the nearly six-figure price for one share of his company’s stock?

2) PR Newswire Acquires US Newswire: Not to be outdone, the Coke to BusinessWire’s Pepsi snaps up US Newswire (reg. req.).

3) Vocus Purchases PR Web: It’s getting interesting as a news tracking service snaps up a news distribution service in an already small market (reg. req.).

4) PR Web’s Free Lunch Ends: Vocus promptly pulled the plug on PR Web’s free news release distribution. It won’t stop bad content from being distributed (just scan the last 24 hours of any newswire service), but it should help by creating a barrier to entry.

5) Vocus Gets Social with BusinessWire: A strategic alliance to create an Enhanced Online Newswire sounds good, but what does that mean exactly in the fast-changing, highly-networked world of social media?

6) Billboard and Vocus introduce SEO news release service: Vocus is clearly working to differentiate itself with some specialized offerings. Does a targeted service mean better information for the media? Fingers crossed, but tapping the Billboard brand was a smart start.

The well-heeled Vocus is spending like a drunk sailor right now, fueling the above strategic moves and incessant, but surprisingly sophisticated, direct marketing campaigns.

7) News Release Goes Direct to Consumers: While the media are the primary audience for most news releases, there are times when they can be used for other audiences (reg. req.). I’ll also remind everyone that there are alternatives to the news release format.

8) News Release 2.0: Who do we have to thank for turning the news release into The Six Million Dollar Format? Two words-Todd Defren.

Seriously, while we bitch and moan about the news release (myself included), Defren’s been making things happen. Still not convinced the social media news release works? Talk to Nellie Lide.

9) Join the Social Media Club: Expanding on Defren’s efforts, this Google Group with a purpose is establishing standards for a document in dire need of a makeover. This quote from Edelman’s Phil Gomes tells me they’re taking a pragmatic approach:

“Make no mistake…The news release is most certainly not dead. The problem is that the news release ceased to be about news and the press release ceased to be about press. If bad writing persists, shoehorning (the news release) into a Web 2.0 format will be kind of like putting racing stripes on a pig.”

If you’re interested in getting involved, sign up here.

10) More Than 100 Years Young: It’s safe to say that with 100 years experience under its belt, the news release has staying power. Yeah, I’m not sure if this is good or bad news either. But I needed one more item.
UPDATE: As Constantin comments, no one’s sure when the news release was born. In fact, it’s probably even older as the practice of public relations certainly is older. More here.

Vive le News Release!

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Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.

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