Old School News Release, Really?

By Helene Boidin


As a packaged goods marketing manager, once I had a good sense of my new marketing promotion, campaign or product launch, I used to jump into my manager of communications’ office to ask her about her thoughts regarding a public relation plan. She would scrutinize the project to find some hooks. But in the end, I can swear you that in the latest years, it took a hell of a hook for her to consider old school news releases sent to traditional media.

So clearly yes, use of old school news release has changed over the years and I noticed myself a growing tendency for us to favor social media over old school news releases, especially to publish consumer-centric news.

Old School News Release could be expensive and inefficient

It’s not just about writing the old school news release itself, but when you add the costs of media kits often necessary to build the excitement and to send samples, it starts to represent a lot of money for a national campaign. Plus, on top of that, there is no guarantee at all that journalists will use your materials. Some journalists are also reluctant to talk about brands to preserve their independent opinion. So forget about simply talking about your great promotion, your new packaging design or your cool advertising in an old school news release… They are not newsworthy enough.

Old School News Release scores better with breaking news

Chances to really consider old school news releases increased when our story came up with something else, something significantly newsworthy, unusual and generally business related. For examples, following projects had more talk-value for old school news releases and journalists:

  • Major investment in production capacity for a new product launch
  • Job creation or job cuts
  • Business transaction
  • Financial results
  • Environmental impact evaluation
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • New ingredients.

Social Media Releases are perfect for consumer-centric news

Then, for consumer-centric news, social media releases slowly took over the lion share. Suddenly, we didn’t had to pitch so hard to journalists for our marketing news to be seen and heard by end-consumers. We could share content right away, in real time and in all forms to a bunch of audiences: journalists, bloggers and end-consumers. Magical!

The example of David’s Tea

I noticed this same trend while digging into David’s Tea website. David’s Tea uses both type of media releases. The old school releases are found in the investor section of their website and are skewed towards business and financial audiences. Voice of those releases is serious and corporate. Subjects for those releases are related to business and financial results. Those releases are directed to journalists, economists and financial analysts.

David’s Tea also uses new school releases on their blog targeted to end-customers. Subjects for those releases are brand related: new products, events, recipes. Style and tone of the brand voice used in the blog is really unique and differentiated:

  • Sentences are short
  • Pictures are numerous and as much prominent as the text itself
  • Language is simple like day to day language
  • They don’t use quotes so much
  • They put strong emphasis on the quality of pictures to bring emotions to life.

There is clearly for David’s Tea a differentiated approach to release news based on the targeted audience.

Trick or treat?

In the end, old school and new school news releases co-exist and can fill different needs for communication. So, it comes back to the crucial obligation to really think about who you are talking to and what you have to say to shape the right approach for your communications.

Check out related posts for more comparisons between the two approaches.

Have you experienced alternative uses of old school and new school releases in your field of expertise? Share your experiences in the comments below!







4 thoughts on “Old School News Release, Really?

  1. Your article is very well organized. Loved the bullet points and sub-headers. Also, great idea to end your article with a question. To answer your question, the law firm for who I work has started to hyperlink specific content to traditional press releases. So, blog posts or web pages are now linking to press releases if we judge our users will benefit from this detailed information. We do the same thing on social media, linking our posts to press releases.


  2. Very clear, well-written article, Helene. I like the analysis of David’s Tea – I’m a huge DT fan and love they style of their newsletters as well as the products. As a fan, I really feel connected to the brand and a sense of ownership when I read or see what they’re doing. The humour in their newsletters is also appreciated. Great analysis.


  3. Laetitia Cany

    Great article, Thank you for sharing your experience! You text is well balanced, well writen and illustrated with interesting examples.


  4. Brigitte Martin

    Hi Helene,
    I like the way you introduced the notion of needing different versions of a media release depending on the content to share. Your blog was well-researched and I liked the flow of information. The examples that you shared at the end of you blog are relevant and I enjoyed looking through them. I also found this to be true when I looked at some examples of how media agencies are communicating to their various audiences.


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