So I’ve never really considered the whole ‘press release vs. social media release’ debate an either/or situation. The way I see it, there’s arguably utility and merit in both formats, as there are gaps and drawbacks. Frankly, I’m not convinced either approach is really the best way to think about news distribution on the web, and well, maybe for that reason alone, I think there’s still room for experimentation.
With this in mind, the Voce team did an experiment of our own recently, something we’ve been calling the “press release page.”
Conceptually, it’s pretty simple: We “announced” a partnership two weeks ago. There was a press release which we distributed over the wire, as well as an accompanying web page (i.e., the press release page) we created to augment and contextualize this news. I’ll explain both things here… The Press Release It was 175 words (less than this blog post). It captured the top-level news and highlighted the type of info the reader might find helpful on the accompanying press release page. It was a functional teaser of sorts, that’s it. The goal was to pique interest and pull attention to the press release page for more information — and, well, looking at our stats among other things, it more than accomplished that.
Now, did the format of the release really matter here? Not really. Did we encounter any wire distribution headaches? No, none whatsoever. If it had been a “true” SMR, by all the standards, would it have spread further across the web? I don’t know, maybe. Was it expensive? Nah, it was less than $100 bucks, although your milage will vary, depending on the wire service and the distribution circuit you pick.
The Press Release Page It was a simple web page we created with WordPress, the same platform that runs this blog. We did some minor CSS and HTML customization, but nothing radical by any means. Again, the whole purpose of the press release page was to augment, color and contextualize this announcement with copy and content – basically, the very same stuff that would have torpedoed the attention and economic gains of our press release had we tried to shoehorn a fraction of this into what went across the wire.
Now, could we have made this press release page a little more dynamic? Could we have enabled comments? Yeah, and we should have, because this page is where the value of conversation bears real fruit, longer term, for us and those that trip across it with future web searches, it’s not, however, the press release, which will steadily and inevitably disappear online.
And therein lies one of my biggest gripes with focusing so much energy on the release format.
There’s been too much fuss over the wrapper, not enough focus on the package.
Again, I make no claim to this being anything other than an experimental approach, an experimental alternative to news distribution on the web. One that that I think has real practical potential for an increasing number of companies that are already deploying corporate blogs and could very easily squeeze more PR value out of those platforms, by extending their scope and purpose a bit.
[cross posted on Media Guerrilla]