The press release has had a storied and somewhat controversial career in the world of public relations. The first press release was basically an attempt by Ivy Lee to control the conversation around a train disaster. He wanted to get the word out before anybody else did.
Now, though, press releases are almost seen as passé. They’re a way to rope in some readers that don’t seem to want to hop on new media like social media. At least, that’s how many businesses see press releases anyway. There are many other reasons (and methods) to writing a press release that just don’t pop up anymore.
Controlling the Conversation
While the reasons behind Ivy Lee’s original press release were a little deceptive, he at least had the right idea. He knew the train wreck would be in the papers in no time at all and wanted to make sure that people would be talking about what HE wanted them to.
That’s almost the epitome of the evil PR person, right? But controlling the conversation is what it’s all about. You want people to talk about your company. You want them saying more positive than negative things. You want your business to be in good standing with the public. It’s half of the reason PR exists in the first place.
The big problem with a press release is the perception of “stretching the truth.” Spin is something that every company tries to avoid these days because it’s seen as a form of white lying. More than that, the public can sniff out this kind of talk quickly, as they’ve become so accustomed to it.
So the trick now is to be as honest as you can be while still portraying your point of view. Naturally it’s a tough thing to do at times as you want to be positive towards your company at all times. But customers will appreciate your honesty and reward you with loyalty.
The Art of the No-Spin Press Release
Need an example of this kind of press release? Let’s say your company has an event coming up – it’s a pretty big one in the community and many are looking forward to it. There have been advertisements up in the community for a while now, and it’s the talk of the town.
Unfortunately, something has come up and the event will have to be cancelled. Even worse, it’s something that could’ve been prevented. You know have to own up to the mistakes and let everyone know what happened.
The press release you send out could easily be full of spin and half-truths. However, you know people will be mad, and giving them half-truths could do much more damage. So you own up to everything and don’t lie or even give half-truths. You just give the ugly truth.
People will still be mad, for sure. However, as long as you own up to mistakes and act like human beings running a company rather than a mega-corporation trying to manipulate the public’s perceptions, then everything will be ok in the end. That’s the kind of press release we should be seeing more.
What happened the last time you tried to “spin” something?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/7cheaptactics.html