Category Archives: SES San Jose 2009

Who needs press releases when we’ve got blogs?

So, Twitter recently announced that it is going to roll the popular retweeting service (a way of forwarding Tweets around originally developed by Twitter users, not the company) into the core Twitter application and its API.

Great news for all us Twitter nerds out there, but rather than issuing a press release for this announcement, Twitter decided to use its blog. You can find the full post here including this neat little image explaining the feature:

So much less stuffy than a press release – it even reads like it’s been written by a human. Bizarre.

Coincidentally, this week at SES San Jose, Beth Murphy, Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications at Digg stated that the popular news aggregator uses a blog for all their press releases. For instance, when they announced their new ad platform, the blog was the medium of choice, and once again, rather than a dense page of text, they showed as well as telling:

Is the idea of the blog announcement restricted to the uber-trendy social media apps who live to break the mold?

Not quite.

The mighty Google has been using its blogs for major announcements for some time. You could say this isn’t surprising given that they own the Blogger platform. You can see the announcement for Google Chrome OS here. This release is a bit more sedate than the earlier release for the Google Chrome Browser which included a nifty cartoon:

A key advantage to using a blog for posting releases is that the medium is perfectly suited to attract other bloggers. Blog releases can have trackbacks, pings and RSS feeds: the nifty gadgets that hold the blogosphere together. In addition, you also have the option to sew a bunch of social features into the pages, allowing visitors to instantly pass the news on via Twitter, Facebook or other social networks du jour.

So, all well and good, but do the press like it? After all, without getting into a debate on the demise of the traditional print media, that’s still the coverage most execs and PR managers are looking for. In some ways a blog post can work better than a press release: there’s still a certain cachet around information that appears on a blog. Getting back to that straightforward Google Chrome OS release, the BBC kicked off an opinion piece on the matter with this sentence:

It’s a few hours since Google used its company blog to announce its entry into the operating systems market, and already opinion is strongly divided.

Somehow, the fact that it appeared on a blog has more weight and authenticity than the humble press release (maybe a question of voice?) and gets woven into the story.

Tips on using a blog to release announcements

  • Use relevant images (and other media) as much as possible to get your point across
  • Consider whether or not you want comments to enabled for these posts (interestingly, all the above announcements have comments disabled)
  • Remember search engine optimization: make sure you prominently mention target keywords
  • If you have a page that lists all the press releases on your site, make sure you add blog releases here too
  • Publicize the RSS feed: a great way for interested parties to keep up with your releases
  • Make the content easy to distribute by adding ‘share’ links to popular social networks
  • In addition to posting to the blog, push the content across the traditional news wires too

So, the next time you have a release to put out, why not think about telling a more imaginative story on your blog?