Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2016 Contents It seems absurd that it s
necessary to have a con-
versation about press
releases in 2016, but we
do live in an environment
of quite different media
consumption and some
old rules are on shaky
Let s start by considering
exactly what a press release
is. At its most basic, a
release is a focused burst of
information from an individual, group or corporate
entity sharing a message that isn t of pressing news-
Some releases do address newsworthy matters and
those tend to specifically represent the sender s per-
spective on the matter that s being reported on. By
volume, such releases represent only the tiniest fraction
of corporate dispatches to the media.
My current engagement in press releases began two
years ago with the founding of TechNewsTT
(http://technewstt.com). Right from the start I designed
a space for a curated selection of press releases from
the tech sector into the website..
This struck me as useful because these documents
also represent an indelible record of corporate state-
ments, promises and positions in a rapidly evolving
There are, at this writing, 236 releases archived on
TechNewsTT and several of them have proved quite
popular. That said, I reject more than 70 per cent of
the material that arrives in my inbox, and here s why.
Um. Technology news website?
A surprising number of companies, along with their
PR agencies think we still live in the era of one size
fits all media.
Online, we don t access content that way. Hyper-
focused content and topic aggregation reflect the digital
newsreader s preference for subject and news sector
authority over the happenstance of flicking through
the pages of a newspaper or turning the dial on a
The act of looking at a Web page may be described
as browsing, but it really isn t. Users search for specific
things, bookmark specific sites and follow specific
Those popular posts I mentioned? Most were rewrit-
ten and refocused for news value pertinent to the
Many more get ignored for pointlessness or bad
writing (which means I have to spend time I don t
have on fixing them), or difficulty experienced accessing
the material. I get that you want to send a neat, pro-
It makes you look good for your client or boss. So
you send the file baked in Hell s steaming kitchen, the
How many of you have tried to access the content
in your nice little PDF press release?
Yeah, I thought so.
Here s what happens. Every formatting glitch you
can imagine, and many you have never considered or
seen before, appears in an innocent copy and paste. Your
text looks like it wandered out of a favela after taking
an unfortunate wrong turn with that last copy key
command. Tables end up looking like hacker code.
Logos are crunched into pixilated messes and photos
don t do much better.
In a perfect world, text should be prepared as a
Rich Text file (.rtf), logos should be supplied as Illustrator
or PNG files and images would be sized to at least
1,500 pixels on the long side, properly toned and colour
corrected. Every photo should have a caption that
explains its content without engaging in conjecture
or needless colour writing.
As long as we are inhabiting that halcyon space of
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 23, 2016
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PR excellence, let s talk about what a website can do
for your PR strategy. Simply put, I won t post your
stuff to the web without an image, nor will most
online news websites or blogs.
If you don t send something useful, I ll go find it
elsewhere and if you don t have suitable materials
available online, you ve guaranteed a loss of control
for your image management. If the only picture of
your CEO that shows up on Google features him cack-
ling over a beer, well, that s on you.
Public relations cannot hope to guide the reporting
process, but it can, at its best, lubricate and inform
it. If your information distribution systems aren t sup-
portive of that goal, they aren t addressing one of their
core and critical functions.
The press release primer
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