My world is one long running anniversary. My year is virtually governed by them. In fact they’re the cornerstone of my industry.
There’s nothing like an anniversary, birthday or key milestone as an excuse to get a client n the public eye.
But one of my anniversaries – a 110th version no less – is likely to only involve me and maybe a colleague (at best).
2016 is the 110th birthday of the world’s first press release.
It was written and released on an unsuspecting media in 1906 by one Ivy Lee – seen as the father of modern-day public relations.
The former journalist was working with the Pennsylvania Railroad at the time of the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck and argued that it would be far better to issue their own version of events before supposition and other versions of the story hit the headlines.
He used a press release, in addition to inviting journalists and photographers to the scene as a means of fostering open communication with the media
His press release became the cornerstone of an entire industry.
On the eve of its anniversary you’d argue the mere ‘press release’ title is an anachronism.
The days of just sending your news to the press are long gone.
Bloggers, stakeholders, opinion formers are just some of the people likely to be on the never-ending distribution list of the 21st century.
The shape/format of a press/news release is beginning to now look unrecognisable from the standard side of A4 that was the bread and butter of the industry.
They’ve now been transformed into this living, breathing thing that has multiple uses for multiple platforms.
If a press release doesn’t have a social element – ie. the ability for viewers to comment or share – it’s not up to the task any more.
It is thought three types of press release are set to be commonplace in the future.
The first is a video format, a short description followed by a link to the video that will tell the story.
The second will be a further evolution of the social press release.
The final is similar to Ivy Lee’s original with company information, stock quotes and additional information.
The format might have changed but the result will be same – if you’ve got the five ws (who, what, why, when, where) and a h (how) you should have delivered the news.