Monday, January 31, 2011

Social Media & Publicity - 4 Press Release Alternatives


Peter Shankman, public relations guru who created HARO, has declared that the press release will be dead in 36 months.  According to former journalist Tom Foremski, a press release is created by a committee, edited by lawyers, and then sent out at great expense to reach the digital and physical trash bins of thousands of journalists.

Foremski goes on to say that press releases often start with a “tremendous amount of top-spin and pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes.” What’s the point of using a press release if it’s just an outdated piece of fluff?

So going back to what Peter Shankman predicted…is the press release really dead and should we ditch it altogether? With social media, it is not always mandatory to send out a press release. I still write and send out press releases for my clients, but it’s not the ONLY publicity tool I use in my “buzz-icist” arsenal.

Consider using these 4 press release alternatives:

#1 Blogger Briefing – If a social media release is the progression of press releases, then a blogger briefing is the “new” press conference. The concept is simple - when you have news to share, organize a conference call or video meeting with potentially interested bloggers

#2 Social Media Release – This is the most basic and obvious next step in the “evolution” of the press release. There has been hot debate whether social media releases really work, but they are obviously being used for a reason. Think of a social media release as an entirely “virtual” press kit - complete with links, videos, photos, and you can even integrate social media sites. If you are interested in creating social media releases, look into Pitchengine.

#3 Twitter “Chat” Tour – Twitter has an entire chat system with its own schedule filled with diverse topics. A “chat” tour involves making an appearance at different chats to promote news and your business/brand.

#4 Virtual Scavenger Hunt – Everyone has a website these days. An effective way of driving traffic to your site is by offering incentives. Hosting a virtual scavenger hunt on your site is a creative tool to drive visitors to your site. Virtual scavenger hunts also engage your target audience so they dive right into your site’s content.

I tend to agree with Peter Shankman that yes, the press release is on its way out. Social media is slowly replacing the press release with more effective, innovative publicity channels. There will always be the die-hard publicists who will stand by the traditional press release, but just remember you have more alternatives to choose from thanks to social media.

Need more online publicity ideas? Check out these inexpensive PR tools.


  1. Therese, the debate rages on. Maybe the traditional press release will be redefined. I don't believe it will die completely as there are those who will still use it, no matter what.

  2. Jacque,you bring up a good point. The press release is already is already being "redefined" (as seen with the social media release). I think people are relying less on traditional press releases/publicity channels and opting for social media tools - so much to choose from that we didn't have before.


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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