It’s obvious that Jodi Kiely is Out There doing PR all over the world — and all over the Net. She’s been a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, an editor for the Korean OECD Multilateral Tax Center in Korea, and a PR and Investor Relations Officer at Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone Authority.
GUEST POST: Jodi Kiely answers the PR questions:
Are press releases dead?
The above question was asked by social media trainer and online content provider Shari Weiss via the PRWise LinkedIn group – a group you should absolutely be a member of if you are in PR.
Shari posed the question (and several others) to a few of her PR colleagues and received some very interesting responses. The result was a compelling blog post she created which I shared with my own Twitter network. My retweet translated into a response from Shari herself, asking if I’d like to answer the questions.
Are press releases dead?
I’ve been hearing quite a bit about just how dead press releases supposedly are these days, but my professional experience continues to say otherwise. I have learned that first and foremost, your news release will get picked up if it is well-written, well-organized and most importantly, contains interesting content. I’d also like to add that it also doesn’t hurt to form a positive relationship with your target set of reporters and bloggers as this may also increase your chances of at least having your press release read by the right people.
However, this doesn’t mean press releases don’t have to evolve with the times as well. As our methods of communication change, so must the news release. I’m a big proponent of news releases that contain embedded links to websites, social media profiles and other multi-media accounts such as Flickr photos or YouTube videos. I’m also a big fan of online media rooms which, when developed properly, can give an extra edge to your PR strategy and your use of news releases.
How effective are press releases, really?
It depends on what your strategy and overall goal is. For one campaign I recently worked on, the combination of traditional vs. new media equaled incredible success. Press releases, Twitter interaction, Facebook updates, newsletters, billboards, magazine ads and community and media relations efforts turned into several blog posts, retweets and newspaper articles about our event. We were also delightfully surprised at the post-event attention we received as well through the creation of YouTube videos event participants created and shared online about their experience at our expo. Each aspect of the strategy played a role in the success – including news releases which we noticed bloggers and reporters relied on.
Is there any way to show an ROI for press releases, especially regarding the costs of distribution?
Distributing press releases is not expensive, and I agree with those who say the investment is really the time you take into crafting a well-written piece. (I also think it takes more than that such as establishing key media relationships and providing quality content.) But as for how to show the ROI of a press release, I agree with those who say this really all depends on what your original goal was for sending out a press release in the first place.
How has PR practice changed in the last 2-3 years?
PR has gone online, it has gone digital, it is now “social” and the profession relies on an entirely new set of vocabulary words, acronyms, tools and online skills that were never taught in any of my college classes back in the late ‘90s. However, the core ideas remain the same: establish and maintain good relationships with the public (and media); plan strategically; measure and evaluate; when necessary, adjust course accordingly.
What changes will companies need to make in their PR and marketing strategies, given the growing influence of social media?
1.) They need to be prepared to respond to situations quickly – things can go viral and not always in a good way. When this happens, how will you react and are you prepared to do so via social media?
2.) They need to take social media seriously. If it is the right approach for your company, then seriously invest in it (this may mean hiring someone to not only manage the company’s social media activities and monitoring but also employing someone who can strategically plan a social media campaign or train staff on how to effectively use social media).
3.) Companies and organizations must be ready to engage with the public more often and more intimately, particularly online. This may seem more like a customer service issue than a PR one, but in some ways, the two intersect.
4.) Companies should also establish a set of corporate social media policies. Social media is not going anywhere any time soon and having a set of guidelines can save businesses from a lot of future headaches if this is tackled early on.
Jodi’s blog and original article
Join our conversation. What’s your take on the New PR?