Trylon Communications  - July 2004

PR Does Not Stand For Press Release

A recent study by the Public Relations Society of America showed that almost three quarters (74.5%) of the marketing executives questioned believe that publicity and media relations were the best indicators of a PR firm’s effectiveness. Translated to investment, the greatest percentage of measurement dollars was allocated to the quality of publicity placement. Unfortunately, many executives and PR folks still equate publicity with press releases. That concept is more incorrect now than ever.

Literally thousands of press releases cross the wires every day. Some companies believe that they can get coverage simply by inundating editors with releases. What they fail to recognize is that there is nothing that can cause more angst amongst journalists than getting bombarded with trivial press releases. In fact, poorly written or innocuous releases can cause a company more harm than good.

A recent study (see this month’s article Using Online Effectively) of journalists showed that while press release volume has increased over the last two years, 74% of the press releases were of no genuine interest.

Announcing an internal promotion, a change of address, or any number of mundane events is not news. Taking a journalist’s time to evaluate that you actually have nothing to say is not the best way to get an article written about your company.

While over 90 percent of both clients and agencies believe that a PR firm should thoroughly understand a client’s business and strategies, only 55% of the firms say that they conduct the needed research to analyze what is needed to match the company strategy with a communications program.

Public relations are all about publicity – a fundamental concept that we have embraced from the beginning. What is the point of a campaign, if there is no concrete result obtained, whether it is a news story, an interview, or a scheduled public speaking engagement? These results require more than a series of simple press releases – they require proactive media relations, creative ideas, and dynamic execution.

The next time you are tempted to send out a press release, stop and think – how can we actually have an article written about this? Is it worth an article? If so, who would want to write about it? How would I contact them? And how would I turn on their “light bulb” quickly to get a response? --now that’s media relations.