By Brigitte Martin.
With the digitalization of media and the ongoing use of social media for communication, the media release is not the only tool in your PR kit.
As little as 5 years ago, a media release was a top down method of getting news out to a curated audience of journalists. They were then expected to share the message in traditional channels of communication, the owned ones. But now, it matters more to be in the communication channels that are earned and shared.
What has changed is that we have on-going direct communication with our audience. It has made it both easier and more complicated to engage with our intended customer. One challenge is that our attention span has reduced itself to less than that of a goldfish: 8 seconds.
You can find a lot of tips on the web about how to write a modern digital media release, but many sources are giving pretty much the same advice.
I like Ed Heil because he recommends a checklist to make a media release more up-to-date:
- embedding your release in a blog to make it more shareable
- accurate meta descriptions for SEO optimization
- video/photo content for better effectiveness
- leveraging your online relationships in all social media
This is a big departure from the long media releases that were for the most part quite boring and hard to read. Social media has changed the rules of the game and we like our facts in 140 characters or less. Oh, and don’t forget to upload a photo because it can say so much without any words.
It’s because of this change that Wendy Marx speaks to the notion that the media release is not the only part in your PR kit. Even though social medias such as Instagram and Twitter enable engagement, the intent of the media release is still to communicate the facts about the story you want to tell. There are other tools you can use to amplify your news message: website, Facebook page, blog, YouTube video, event, film etc.
Even in this digital age, there might be times when your PR tool kit has a media release that looks more old school than new school. As a PR tool, the media release has different personalities depending on your intended audience.
There is a good example at Sid Lee, the ad agency. After they got the Absolut vodka account, SidLee put out a media release. It was digital, but it was long ! Even though we all know about the culture of innovation and fun at SidLee, they wanted more business talk when speaking to their global investment community. The message was: invest. When SidLee and Absolut launched the new Make the Night Vodka campaign, the tone of the media release changed completely. The audience is the customer and the hook is about reconnecting with Absolut at your party, being a maker and being part of the cast.The media release has a strong call to action by inviting the customer to share the experience.
So yes, you need more than a media release in your PR kit, and that tool has a few versions of its own.