Press releases take new life online

It seems like "old media" and "new media" have been acting like two groups on the playground.

It seems like “old media” and “new media” have been acting like two groups on the playground. “Old media” has been like the last kid to get picked for the kickball team – just a little too off-center to hang out with the “in” crowd.

But in the steady march away from the stodgy and toward the enlightened – one old medium seems to be regaining a glint of popularity. I'm talking specifically about the news release, that old standby that was probably the first thing we learned to write in our college intro class.

For a while, the news release seemed to fall out favor. Reporters wanted their own take on whatever our news was, so why bother with a mass-marketed document? But as the number of Web sites, blogs, and tweet-happy Twitterers seemingly doubled as we slept, they brought with them an insatiable need for ready-to-consume information.

And thus the kid hiding away on the playground suddenly found himself picked for the team. We gave the gawky kid the right shirt and sneakers, sprinkling news releases with bits of social media toppings – an embedded image here, a sound bite there, a video link over there.

Along the way, we found that what was once a one-day tactic took on a life after-the-fact. The news tends to live on in its virtual world, lending an assist when someone searches for our clients or organizations, and serving as a sort of library or archive of news and information to help our communications efforts.

Maybe it's time to go back to the playground and see what other unpopular “kids” are hiding behind today's in crowd. As they say, everything old is new again.

Larry Meltzer is agency principal/creative director of MM2 Public Relations

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