More On My PR Flack Problem

By Ray Schultz

Journalists on all beats are bombarded with press releases every day. And while many are irrelevant, poorly worded, incoherent and barely visible, there are ways to make them stand out, according to a study by the news services Business Wire. 

According to this report, the most important elements of a new release are:

Multimedia assets like video, pictures, blogs and infographics—57%

Contact information—51%

Company background—38%

As for contact information, Business Wire finds that reporters prefer to be able to get in touch directly with the source to check facts or obtain additional content or company background. 

This is almost never provided—in fact, some press releases even omit the name of the PR contact.

And this violates one of the old-time direct marketing rules—that a reputable company includes a street address and information such as a telephone number. 

You can add that to my own list of complaints against PR people, who in an earlier time were dubbed press agents. 

In 1945, H.L. Mencken said that “in my day, a press agent was looked on as a loathsome creature. Nobody paid any attention to him.” 

It’s not quite as bad as that now. But, as I’ve reported, I’m highly irritated by press releases that promote some survey or other, but make you go through a CAPTHA experience to gain access to them, and the daily influx of embargoed releases. 

I’ve got one more problem. Why is Business Wire promoting this survey now when it was conducted in 2020?

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