Let’s Replace Press Releases with Blog Posts

Give Andrew Fowler at Newsvetter credit.

Moldy bread or a press release? You decide!

Apparently, without the aid of an adrenaline shot, Fowler read through every single press release from the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Why?  He wanted to find an example of an original, creative press release.

He failed.  “For a conference that showcases some of the most interesting and exciting consumer products you would scarcely know it from the depressing way companies describe them in their press releases,” he wrote.

Sadly, Fowler is dead-on.

When did the PR industry start writing sentences like these (the following have been taken from real press releases – but the names have been changed to protect the guilty)?

  • “By open sourcing this technology, we are allowing our industry partners and the community to contribute to the future of virtualization with us,” said John Doe, CTO and vice president, Engineering at Company X. “The Company X protocol is designed to optimize performance by automatically adapting to the graphics and communications environment that it is running in, so vendors have a terrific opportunity to enhance it for their specific applications.”
  • “Regulatory compliance, on-line transaction processing and rich media are just a few of the factors driving an exponential demand for enterprise-class storage and replication services.  To meet these needs, Company Y recently began offering dedicated SAN (dSAN) and dedicated NAS (dNAS) enterprise-class managed storage solutions.”
  • “Company W and Company Z will now offer full end-to-end, global business process management solutions from upfront consulting, through deployment and ongoing services, fostering the business agility necessary to meet ongoing change requirements.”

Have these people never read Hemingway?

If you bundled the bad grammar, industry jargon, and cliches into a ball and threw it at a goat, it would knock the beast unconscious and you’d have PETA picketing your company headquarters.

My favorites are the new verb “open sourcing” and and the riveting offer of “full end-to-end business process management solutions.”  Wow.  Sign me up.

As I’ve written about before, press releases are terribly written – and getting worse.  It might be time to get rid of them and replace them with something better – blog posts.

Google is a perfect example of a company that uses its blog to great effect.  That’s where the company announces news.  No more writing by committee.  No more stale, jargon-riddle sentences longer than yard sticks.  In other words – bye, bye press releases.

Blogs offer syndication via RSS, easy formatting and distribution, a multimedia platform and the ability to engage with your audience. More companies should follow the Google led.

What do you think – should blogs replace press releases?

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9 Responses to “Let’s Replace Press Releases with Blog Posts”

  1. It’s a potentially groundbreaking idea, but for those of us who work on medical/scientific and particularly medical journal releases, there’s a problem. Embargoes, which in our world are actually helpful, would mean the blog would have to be protected by some sort of password firewall. Also, reporters I deal with appreciate the heads up that an email gives them, so they don’t have to go out looking for news. Finally, I could see blogs getting bogged down in the same review process that stifles good writing.

    All that said, this has real potential to move us in the right direction.

  2. First, I should mention that I work for CNW, a Canadian newswire company, so I have a vested interested in PR people continuing to put out news releases.

    I’m also a PR person, and one that considers myself to be creative and smart enough to avoid making up new verbs like “out sourcing.” But the reality is that a company who’s news release are filled with jargon and cliches are going to put out blog posts filled with jargon and cliches. A company that requires their news releases to be written by committee are certainly not going to let a blog post into the wild without approval from same committee. One could imagine if Google were the news release type they would be written with the same creative and style as their blog posts.

    What we all need is to take a page from Steve Crescenzo’s book (http://www.crescenzocomm.com/) and replace the corporate in corporate communications with creative communications, regardless of whether it’s a blog post, a news release, an employee newsletter, or whatever.

  3. And you just sound like any other blogger, blabbing about how you are better – you use the platform (blog), to discuss the platform. Sort of like sending your first email:
    John emails: “Hey Alex, let me know if you get this”
    Alex replies: “yeah, isn’t this cool”

    …gets old fast doesn’t it???

  4. Hi George,

    The answer depends on the industry and the news. For most tech and consumer news you can certainly announce by some form of mass announcement like a blog, tweet, etc. But for financial announcements like earnings there are FINRA and other regulations that will always necessitate an “official” announcement. And if you’re working on an embargo or an exclusive, most reporters I work with still want to review it by looking at a bona fide news release. Hopefully they are better written than the ones from CES.

  5. Thanks for the responses – except for you Greg – because as you know – I’m better than you 🙂

    No doubt the financial releases on earnings, etc. are required by law – so press releases will be necessary for those pieces of news. But even embargoed news can be issued as a blog post.

    To Amanda’s point that bad writing will equal bad writing – I don’t necessarily agree. The press release process is broken – mired in red tape and with too many cooks in the kitchen.

    I believe that the blogging platform allows for more freedom and requires brevity to be effective. Writing short will always improve corporate writing.

    But, Amanda, your point is well taken. We should all be thinking about how to be more creative in our writing.

  6. You are in serious denial if you think most blog posts (especially those announcing news) at larger companies don’t go through the same legal and exec approval process as press releases. In fact, it’s often more cumbersome because people argue over tone and personality as much as they used to argue over “end-to-end” and “comprehensive”.

    It’s just a different medium. Perhaps the format is a little more interesting to read, but often not. Often, blog posts are unstructured, grammatically iffy, and totally miss with tone and personality.

    For actual news announcements, you need both…a press release as the official record of your news with facts, stats and quotes; and blog post to add color, commentary and dimension to the news.

    Think of it as the difference between a news story and a feature story.

  7. Hi Allison:
    I disagree and as I happen to help write both blog posts and press releases for enterprises – I find blog posts go through a less rigorous examination and certainly far fewer revisions.

    But no doubt, however, that corporations need to review all of their writing practices and begin to realize that crisp writing comes from fewer cooks.

    If you hire people in your communications department to write – then let them write!

  8. I mostly agree with Amanda above, so I won’t re-write her points. To add, though: it’d be great if press releases could strike that balance between imparting knowledge to the reader, and a conversational tone. I’m no Apple fan boy, but $teve Job$ seems to do this well (minus the over-use of superlatives). I read some press-releases, and my mind starts to mentally skip over the jargon. So, what’s the point?


  1. Press Release….where are you going??? « S.S. Andrea - September 27, 2011

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