Your competition: The press release

It hasn’t gotten a lot of notice, but Richard MacManus has a post up at Read/Write Web that I thought was pretty interesting, about an email he got from Business Wire, in which the press release service brags about its ability to bypass the blogosphere and traditional media and go directly to the markets it is trying to reach, by showing up on Techmeme and other aggregators, as well as in search results.

This may sound like a lot of hot air from a PR service, but as Richard notes in the post, there is ample evidence of press releases showing up at the top of conversation threads on Techmeme. Richard also has some quotes from Gabe Rivera, in which he talks about how that isn’t necessarily a bad thing — provided they are well written — and how some blog posts amount to poorly rewritten press releases anyway.

It was that last point that really struck me. Why shouldn’t press releases get better play than some blog post that basically takes the key facts and repeats them? If a press release gets across the information and has it first, then it deserves to be there — and as Richard notes, as press releases get more “social” and add links and even video, they become more like blog posts, and are even more likely to hit Techmeme.

Memo to the blogosphere: You might want to keep all that in mind the next time you try to get some juice out of posting a rewritten press release. That kind of thing works in traditional media, but it’s probably not going to fly for very long in new media.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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