A press release by any other name

Steve Rubel reports that RSS advertising provider Pheedo has teamed up with PRWeb to display press releases as RSS feeds, and asks

Does anyone see a boy who cried wolf scenario coming where all press releases, even ones that convey news, become irrelevant?

In the past, a successful press release was a collaboration between the writer (as a proxy for the client) and the journalist(s); because the journalist was the ultimate arbiter, the writer’s approach has traditionally been very (wink wink nudge nudge) ritualized. Hence all the rules about what you can and can’t write, how to structure the release, how promotional you are allowed to be, etc.

So pushing releases out as RSS feeds is tantamount to a loss of decorum.

Oh, well.

I’m picturing, not the Fortune 50 company with its byzantine marketing structure, but the small-to-medium business, the guy who owns the local appliance franchise, the technology start-up, the marketing manager of some niche manufacturing sector OEM. For these people — whose opportunities to leverage old-fashioned style releases are, relatively speaking, few and far between — the real question is: will distributing releases this way get the phones to ring?

It’s a cheap experiment. And in any case, as long as there are journalists dedicated to reporting news, there will be PR agencies courting them the old-fashioned way, on whatever terms the journos dictate.

[tags] press release, public relations [/tags]

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