I’ve often implored employee communicators to stop posting press releases on internal channels. There are so many reasons to do so, especially because employees hate packaged or “spun” communication, old news, and anything that wastes their time without adding value.
But here’s another compelling case against press releases: They’re intrinsically self-serving and therefore boring. A press release proclaims, “Here’s why we’re so great!” It offers little to the audience. It’s not about “you” (the audience); it’s all “me me me.”
In a recent MediaPost column, contributor Tom Davis (no relation), tells this story:
A large public relations agency asked Mr. Davis to join a panel so he could talk about storytelling, paid posts and branded content.
“The PR agency is seeing a shift,” writes Mr. Davis. “More and more often, brands are opting to pay for stories (branded content and thought leadership marketing) rather than pitching stories (as part of more traditional PR). One brand on the panel said it no longer creates press releases (except at earnings time). The focus is on making news in creative, fun ways. This, in turn, drives earned media.”
The trend in all forms of marketing, explains Mr. Davis, is to create content from the consumer’s viewpoint. “Do things that help . . . your audience.”
For employee communication, that means a lot less news, a lot more service. We’re not doing this work to rehash packaged boilerplate; we need to create content that matters to employees, creates understanding of key topics and helps them solves problems and accomplish great things.
That kind of content has real value. Press releases? Useless.