Rethinking Press Releases


(Frew) #1

With @Simon’s proposal to do a press release about refugees last night, I got thinking about how we use our press release roll on the website. The media isn’t going to care one iota about our position on refugees, unless we are doing a media stunt that they think will result in clicks on their website. They barely cover our opinion on tech issues where we have expertise and a lot of skin in the game.

It is a waste of time and energy to put out statements aimed at people who aren’t going to use it. So I propose that we rework our approach to press releases and turn them into statements aimed directly at our members and the public in general and skip the media as the middle man to our messaging.

There are some topics that we may get some media on core Pirate Party issues, such as website blocking, net neutrality etc where press releases have some value and we should continue to put them out, but our position on gay marriage, refugees etc is not going to get any coverage in the mainstream news. A statement aimed at general consumption is more likely to get legs on social media than a tweeted press release.


Pirate PR on Refugees & Manus Island crisis
(Tom Randle) #2

The format of our press releases (PRs) in the past has essentially been mainstream media based, which I’ve always considered was probably not the best use of our time. It’s always good practice though, to have to formally write out a position on and individual issue framed with our Party’s policy/principle position. So I wouldn’t stop people from putting their energy into PRs if that’s what they want to do.

Cost benefit though I see as being:

  • Write and release PRs to mainstream media; or,
  • Write more brief socmed comments on current events with linked external articles, push more internally.

I reckon the latter probably holds more value for engagement / Party growth, where the former is essentially gambling. The value that I see in the latter is always trying to be the point from which we inform people of the issues relevant to our Party before they see it else where and in a way that is always going to be effective on some level.

Our PRs are sent to an internal list we have of media contacts, published on our main website, and some socmed posts. But the initial reach from the mailout to journalists is limited.

We could, as an option, pay for distribution of our PRs. It is something many organisation do. I looked at the AAP’s service again (http://www.medianet.com.au/products/release/) which is around $66 per release. Considering that expense would force us to ask the question: is this PR really worth $X of the Party’s money?

The main points I’ve noticed about PRs is that we:

  • Need to have people tracking the general issue before some event causes more intense focus
  • PRs need to be written and sent almost before the first MSM articles start appearing about the issue/scandal/topic.

Journalists are all trying to beat each other to get their articles out, if our PRs land in their inbox after they’ve already published then they will just move on to the next issue.


#3

@Frew I agree 100%.

It could be that I am unfamiliar with current Press Release procedures. I guess I was looking for us to make a Statement on the specific issue rather than let it go ignored?

I didn’t even realise that there is a difference between a message which goes out to Media/Members/Public. My opinion is to lead towards messages geared for Public consumption, and if the message is good, then media would pick up on it. Addressing towards members is just preaching to the choir.

I have no problem with skipping the Media in the targeting of the message, but we should still try reaching out to journos to get heard.

The style of language is worth some discussion as well. I am more of the persuasion of using more everyday language so that anyone can understand and be engaged (without it sounding like a boring canned statement) and occasionally even some charged words to grab attention.

@rundll socmed strategy sounds good… if we do it organically that is just preaching to the choir, but that twitter/facebook advertising we did was surprisingly effective! Perhaps make some of out our “articles” (PR statement) and promote it on twitter/facebook (& reddit), it would be quite a surprise for some people to get surprisingly good content promoted into their feed!

I don’t think that $66 per release which is probably going to get ignored is best us either. But hey, I was wrong about facebook/twitter spend, maybe it isn’t a waste? But I still think that it would be more effective to hunt down like minded Journos who are willing to take content from us directly.

The statement I started was quite reactionary, and that is an identified flaw that I was anticipating that “someone else” would say something but when that didn’t happen it makes me realise that the process to pick things up timely and get people onto it. Maybe a Journalism Team? Recruit some Journalism students perhaps… that couldn’t be too hard, they are all looking for a way into the industry.