Post no. 1,000: the dangers of too many press releases
When there’s a recession, people tend to act predictably. In 2001, they began cutting their online advertising, because online ads were further down the food chain than they are today. This time, a lot of companies have cut above-the-line marketing spends in favour of press releases.
I have a lot of friends in public relations (PR), so this post isn’t targeted at them. But I think they know, with the rise of their business, that they are the ﬂavour of the ﬁrst and second quarters of 2009.
With several problems: if everyone’s sending releases, how are they to be differentiated? It’s becoming harder and harder, and those of us in the media already receiving a few thousand emails a week are more likely to ignore them.
Secondly, if everyone’s sending releases and there’s not enough spending on above-the-line advertising, then print publications have no choice but to cull pages—thereby minimizing the chances of that release making it.
It doesn’t make much difference to online publications, either. While the second problem doesn’t exist, the ﬁrst one does—and when you’re international as Lucire is, quantity far exceeds quality.
If the PRs really want to do well, they might consider getting into advertising themselves, and ﬁnd ways to balance their work. Or, there may be new-media ways that remain unexamined—but even there, they need to create trust and relationships with the audience, and it’s not a cheap exercise to do that even with a Facebook page or Twitter account.
There is still a place for releases—especially for those parties who are more limited in choice—but I advocate moderation.
At this point, the rise of PR can’t continue endlessly, and on that topic I’m going to defer to my friend Stefan Engeseth.
I’m still bound by conﬁdentiality but in a few months’ time, Stefan will tell you more about the sort of topic I’ve hinted at in this post.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is post no. 1,000 on this blog. It’s taken three years and three months to get here, longer than what I expected.
This blog has changed since I began. Back in January 2006, I was a daily blogger, keeping up a frequency that proved untenable. Also, I blogged initially about a lot of my working principles—and they don’t change. There seemed little point repeating a lot of those ideas.
When Vox launched into beta toward the end of 2006, I put my trivial stuff there, reserving The Persuader for more work-oriented posts. That cut down the number of posts, as did general fatigue of keeping up the daily routine.
I seem to have rediscovered a little bit of vigour for blogging about work over the last six months—especially as the media began bandying the word recession about.
It’s not as though media misbehaviour and injustice ceased existing because I wasn’t blogging. The challenging business environment, too, created extra opportunities to blog.
I didn’t expect the 1,000th blog to be about PR—I thought it might have been a profound piece on branding. But, remember, we are in charge of the technology, and the above was the topic on my mind. I did tell myself that I would not make the topic a “commemorative” one, one which somehow gathered up all the different interests my company has, and turn them into a TV season ﬁnalé of sorts.
I thank everyone, whether you’ve been with me since post no. 1 in January 2006 or you joined me recently through Twitter. I look forward to continuing the journey with you. Posted by Jack Yan, 11:21
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With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.
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Copyright ©200210 by Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved. Photograph of Jack Yan by Chelfyn Baxter.