News evolves. We’ve gone from print to radio, TV and wait for it… the internet. The humble press release has had to evolve too. As an in-depth piece in Econsultancy points out about the emergence of TV:
Companies sprang up to service this need and PR people had to learn a new skill – video news.
So why is the Internet and the social media news release any different? It’s not a case of killing the press release. It’s just presenting your news in the format that gets the best results.
After all, from the position of a hard-pressed journalist, the easier a story is to construct, the greater the chance that it will make it to publication. As I’ve said earlier, the blog format works well as the canvas on which you can paint your story.
The entrance or portal into your news stories is equally important. On a quick scan of all the usual suspects in the tech field, I’d agree with Econsultancy that Cisco have done a neat job with their news room:
Journalists are spoilt with links to both the blog post AND press release on major stories. Both formats have heavy doses of videos and photos. The homepage has links to all the major networks: Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube et al. RSS feeds abound. As do embed scripts so you can pick up the content yourself. You can even personalize the experience so you only see the news most relevant to you (ideal for any company with a wide portfolio).
One thing strikes me about this Cisco example: what they have come up with looks suspiciously like a reputable publication’s online outlet. For instance, here is the current homepage of the BBC (a traditional UK TV/Radio outlet):
Similarities include the heavy treatment of a featured news story, powerful use of images, prominent display of video content.
So is this just an evolution in the humble press release?
One key difference with online news is that people are consuming news from beyond the traditional news outlets. So beyond attracting the press industry (I include bloggers/analysts here) with a rich newsroom, companies have a greater chance of going that step further and getting their message out directly to their target audience, bypassing journalists completely.
Still not convinced there is value in creating social media-rich online newsrooms?