The Embargo Breaks Part Deux: Is a Press Release News?

The past two weeks have undoubtedly been rough ones if you are a public relations rep. There are A-list bloggers bandying about terms like blacklist and threatening to never cover another pitch. And I’m sure there are PR reps who are very upset and probably quaking in their boots worrying about how on earth they will ever get anything covered by the A-listers.

Here’s a hint: they are lying when they claim that their lives would be blissful without another pitch. They can give you rules and regulations and more special orders for how they want to receive the information you have than Meg Ryan ordering a salad in When Harry Met Sally, but if there were no pitches, they’d have nothing to cover.


Press Releases Are Necessary

If every PR rep suddenly said "You know what? The heck with all of you. We won’t send you pitches if you are going to be picky about it," and only pitched bloggers who didn’t complain, what would all these sites have to regurgitate for their 20 articles a day? Not a darn thing. Not a SINGLE thing. That news comes from press releases and pre-embargo press kits, and if that well suddenly dried up, so would the glut of posts. We can talk about social media press releases and Twitpitches and anything else until we are blue in the face, but if PR reps sent words written on a dirty paper napkin in catsup and the A-listers wanted that news, they’d cover it.

Where PR Ranks

Need proof? TechCrunch actually did the math for us with their "Blogger Board" on CrunchBase. I’ll be honest; it took a pitch in my mail box to notice it, but if you look closely, number 22 on that list is Business Wire. Business Wire! The press release feed ranks at number 22 for Techmeme headline appearances. That’s higher than Scoble (#23). Higher than Mashable (#29). And then at number 31? We have more press releases, this time from PR Newswire.

Promotional Pieces

I may be old-school, but I don’t generally think of a press release as a news item. It’s a promotional item. It may contain some facts that are news, such as information about a launch, but whether you are counting the press release itself or a paraphrase of it, it shouldn’t be counted as anything more than a promotional piece. The fact that two wire services for press releases show up in the all-time Techmeme leaderboard should demonstrate just how dependent the tech blogs are on the information in them. And while we can watch FriendFeed and Twitter light up like Christmas trees kvetching about PR reps being annoying, don’t you think a lot of those same whingers would be flailing without them?

Hi there, I’m Cyndy Aleo-Carreira, your friendly guest poster today on SheGeeks. When not guest-posting to spread the love everywhere, I’m an Editor and Writer for Profy. In addition to the blog, we recently launched a social blogging platform of our own. You can read the first part of this two-parter at The Embargo Breaks: Regurgitation of a Press Release.

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira