It would be substantial if there were a few ground rules set by each media organisation when it comes to entertaining press releases. Starting from formatting guidelines to editorial regulations, every organisation should receive fair treatment
For anyone who has, or is working with the print media, this is a familiar dialogue they've all more or less come across, "Hey, I have a PR. Can you please publish it?"
By definition a press release is an official statement issued as a declaration by an organisation or individual to reach out through the media. It is featured on the organisations's own website, or at times sent out to journalists for publishing. Nevertheless, the definition of PR has been amended in the most hilarious ways in recent times.
I will stick to just one example so that everyone can relate. Suppose there is an entrepreneur named Aysha who has been working behind her startup idea since her university days. As she started her venture, she faced a lot of troubles, starting from raising capital to tackling existing competitors.
Now, because she does not have enough link with the print media, she does not get featured enough, despite being worthy of it. On the other hand, the competitor organisation which has not been as good as her in terms of making a notable mark in the same industry, is being featured everywhere.
The competitor organisation's CEO is being featured in the newspapers with the most benevolent headlines, being invited to talk-shows because of having strapping connections, and is constantly delivering motivational speeches due to being "successful".
Now, Aysha is not receiving the word-of-mouth accolades in the media, just because she does not have any connections. The self-made entrepreneur who is doing wonders and evolving the industry is not being mentioned as much as the competitor organisation's CEO, who has sturdy connections.
If you believe that this example is familiar, then you already know that this is how things run, at least, in most of the cases.
The print media is indeed imperilled due to the rise in digital media content consumption, and it is threatened further with the pandemic taking a toll. It is also true that to ensure sustainable relationships with brands, every print media organisation is somewhat tethered to avoid such indecorous requests.
But that does not mean that the definition of the concept of PR itself, or the resolution of the print media firm should be questioned. Be it print media or digital media, the reporters who get such requests do have their priorities, deadlines, and editorial calendars. The role of a journalist is to tell a story worth telling that is relevant as well as newsworthy for its readership.
It would be substantial if there were a few ground rules set by each media organisation when it comes to entertaining press releases. Starting from formatting guidelines to editorial regulations, every organisation should receive fair treatment.
Of course, PR is a great marketing tool that helps a business sustain. But instead of a tool, it should not be treated as a trump card due to strong relationships.
At times, there isn't even any monetary support given to the media to entertain press releases. In this digital era, a business should also spend behind their media, ensuring adequate media buying, so that they do not get excessively dependent on other news platforms due to their connections. Let us redefine the concept of press releases instead of medicating it like a tool of favouritism.
This is written by Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury, an author and a trainer. He is the Co-Founder of Torun, ConPact, and Think Content.