‘Modern media relations and communication will not always involve a press release’

I received a funny note from a public relations official that I found quite interesting, prompting a thought or two I wanted to share.

“Modern media relations and communication will not always involve a press release. With the widespread adoption of social media as a form of citizen communication, many items of interest will be communicated directly with [our] community. We encourage you to follow [our] social media channels for regular citizen updates.”

I don’t disagree with press releases (really news releases) and social media. However, news releases have taken on a new role in the modern age. It’s perfectly acceptable to write a brief announcement — what might have been called a press release a few years ago — and post it on a website.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The news release isn’t dead; it’s just different.

It doesn’t take that much time, it has an SEO benefit, and it might inform someone who stumbles on your website but not a social media channel. For better or worse, the proliferation of channels means organizations must share their message everywhere.

Too many practitioners think a tweet or a social post covers communication. While social media is a powerful and effective way to communicate, it requires more than that.

One other thought on modern media relations and communication: The foundation of communication is relationship-building. Today, too many people have overlooked that.

Government officials, in particular, want to bemoan negative coverage of their community. Often, they don’t take the time to foster that connection that might lead to positive coverage. I agree it doesn’t always necessitate a news release; maybe it’s a one-off note to inform a writer about a particular nugget of news.

What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll ignore the email. Who knows? Maybe they’ll jump on the story.

Effective communication isn’t about the number of tweets an organization sends. It’s not about meaningless clip reports. It’s about making sure the right people — whether we want to call them stakeholders, customers or something else — receive the message and take action.

Instead of being defensive about their efforts, communicators could internalize the notion that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If they do, their message may make it through to more people.