Reports are scudding around the Social Media blogs that PR professionals are beginning to realise that press releases are not as important as they once were.
Importance, of course, is a relative term, but a recent poll seems to indicate that professional communicators are thinking twice before writing and submitting press releases. If they do decide to send one, it’s for a specific reason; if not, they’re confident they can target reporters and editors through other means, such as Twitter and Facebook.
The earnestness with which bloggers and pundits are commenting on this trend conjures up an image of self-important bustle as tweets are sent hourly, in case the media star it was intended for was reading Facebook instead.
According to Lindsey Miller of Ragan Communications, somebody else applauded social media tools for the level of control it allows, “It depends upon your audience, but you can reach your clients directly with your message intact”.
This is the kind of clarity we want from communication professionals, no hedging, tell it straight, quote your source.
The PR crowd seem to feel that social media are being used more in PR, and that press releases are less relevant in those areas because it’s too much of a scatter-gun technique.
Putting to one side astonishment that PR people think that anything is irrelevant, this targetting of individual movers and shakers in the media does rather indicate that professionals would prefer to talk to other professionals rather than boring old John Public, who may not even be interested in what they have to say.
As Lauren Fernandez, marketing coordinator at American Mensa says, “We use all the tools to try to reach a limited pool of people who have to decide what’s important.”
Quite so. Deciding what’s important is not something that should be left to every Tom, Dick and Harriet who has a Facebook or Twitter account. But don’t take my word for it, ask the PR gurus.
They’ll tell you what to think.