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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Press Releases and B2B 

My fellow b2b blogger Dave Jung ponders the potential death of the press release.

He notes that the decline in editorial space available has changed the demand for press releases, and points to an article on Marketing Profs which recommends short emails to journalists instead.

I think the paper press release is indeed dead--it's just junk mail. And I'm not sure stuffing up the email box of journalists with unwanted pitches is going to work.

But press releases can be viable. Especially if they're delivered to journalists by a trusted source.

My client, Religion News Service, launched a press release distribution service several years ago. Releases are emailed to an opt-in list of religion journalists and editors, linked from the website, linked from a weekly e-newsletter, and run on our AP feed. It's very successful, both for customers posting releases and for our journalist/editor subscribers. And there's no junk mail, no annoying followup phone calls (we don't release our list to anyone).

We're more cost-effective and just generally more effective than BusinessWire or PR Newswire for our customers because of our trusted brand. And our opt-in delivery system gets clients a lot of pickups.

There's an opportunity here for any b2b media company with a strong position in a marketplace to launch an electronic press release distribution service, using an opt-in mechanism. It's a way to make money, and a way to help clients get their message out to the market.

Perhaps if Dave Jung had a press release distribution service targeting his market, hosted by a leading magazine or media property, delivering key decisionmakers (and journalists) who ask to see such releases, he'd find that there remains life (and effectiveness) in press releases.

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