The press release is certainly not dead, despite what some PR people may have you believe. Yes, it's been loaded up with jargon. Weighed down with buzzwords. Scrubbed clean of any meaningful executive quotes. But, in spite of it all, the press release can provide still more value and is read by more people than ever before.

You may have heard about this ongoing debate in the PR community. It centers on the usefulness of the press release in its current state and whether a new tool is needed to better harness social and other emerging media. Some PR professionals believe the Social Media Press Release (SMPR) is the logical update to the existing press release.

An SMPR does away with the need to write clearly and concisely in a news article format. It deconstructs and separates press release copy into its core components plus adds sections for RSS feeds, podcasts, photos, graphics, videos, and other media and linking tools.

Some people even go farther and argue that changing the format of the press release is not enough. They believe the entire concept should be thrown out, and some even talk about overturning the existing media paradigm. Heady stuff indeed!

In all the theoretical debate about the future of the press release, it's sometimes overlooked that PR professionals' first priority must be delivering results that support their client's business.

Today, the reality in the kind of PR that we practice at my firm—business to business (B2B) and business to government B2G—is that clients aren't that interested in being on the bleeding edge of innovation.

Clients want PR counsel, strategy, and execution that connect clearly to their business objectives. They care about using the most effective PR methods, and the press release is still the most efficient, far reaching, and versatile platform to deliver messages to both the media and the public at large.

Today, more people are using press releases to find the information they need to do their jobs—and not just journalists. According to a report last year by research firm OutSell, press releases have surpassed trade journals as the leading source of information for knowledge workers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Parente is a managing director at Strategic Communications Group (www.gotostrategic.com), a PR and business development firm that has partnered with Infoition (www.infoition.com) to provide integrated PR and media monitoring services.

Already a Premium Plus member?  You might want to check out our virtual seminar recording, The New Rules of PR:  How to Use Press Releases to Reach Buyers Directly, originally broadcast in June 2006.