Putting Links Into Press Releases... Still A Controversial Issue(!)
I was speaking at the excellent Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit earlier this week and the issue of the new/social media release came up again. It has been over two years now since my rant Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die! was published and I'm constantly surprised that it remains a controversial issue.
My main point was to use the new media technologies and include them in the news release. At least put some links in it!
Several people have told me that news wires such as Businesswire charge extra for links, but, a gentleman from Busineswire that was sitting in the front row during my presentation said it was not true and that Businesswire encourages its clients to put lots of links in their releases - but they don't.
I spoke with many PR people at the event. Some said that their clients are very conservative and that's what is holding back the new/social media press release.
Since companies hire PR people for their expertise it would seem that the client should not be the one making such decisions, such as putting links into a press release.
Mark Glasser, over at PBS MediaShift this week published a long piece on this subject, it is worth reading. Here is an excerpt:
Foremski is especially worried that press releases now rank highly on search engine results or in aggregators such as Google News, and hopes that readers don’t confuse company releases with real news stories.
One of the sparks for this story was a recent email I received from a publicist for Business Wire, a wire service for press releases, who noted the newfound power of company press releases:
Business Wire has morphed into what can be called a high-speed ‘search engine news delivery service’ with newfound capabilities to aggressively shoot to the top of search engines, news sites and social media with clientele’s materials. When press releases can be coded and stuffed with multimedia to the point that they receive more traffic and linkage than the same news stories which add the nuance and interpretation, who is doing an end run around whom?
The example Business Wire gives was the recent story of AOL buying Bebo, with the Business Wire story taking top billing on the Techmeme aggregation of stories on the subject. Laura Sturaitis, senior vice president of media services & product strategy for Business Wire, told me she was spending a lot of time educating clients on new ways of optimizing press releases for search engines.