By Erhumu Bayagbon
A lot of PR professionals are of the opinion that the idea of writing and issuing press release is obsolete, outdated and dead. I disagree. Primarily because of two reasons.
In articulating my view, I am constrained to reflect on the key objectives of a press release.
What is a press release? Or, what purpose does a press release serve?
Or, should I ask, what are two major, striking features of a press release. I will stay with the third question; at least, for now.
One major feature is that a press release is deliberately written to suit a typical, or if you like, generally acceptable newspaper writing style. This submission can be debated, depending on your academic/practice persuasion.
Second, a press release is written in an inverted pyramid style. Meaning, you have to pack all relevant and the most important information in the first paragraph.
Experts will say you should answer the 5 Ws and H in the first paragraph. That is, What, Where, When, Who, Why and How.
Better still, the headline should be cast in a way that tells the entire story at one glance.
Pondering on above points, I am compelled to believe that the concept or idea behind press release or even press release, as understood in ‘traditional’ parlance, will never die.
And, here is why: Organizations and individuals will always have a need to communicate publicly – public communication.
When they do this, they usually have a message and a particular audience target. In communicating, they will have to adapt to the language, style and nuances of the channel or platform.
For example, reaching audience via snapchat means you have to communicate using the style of snapchat for effectiveness. Ditto traditional media, home of press releases. That is, you have to deliberately ‘write’ for snapchat to reach and engage audience in snapchat.
So, the press release principle applies.
Secondly, the concept of the 5 Ws and H is still valid, regardless of the channel and audience. You always want to get your message passed across in a laconic and readily understandable manner.