The press release, the bin and the trash can.
Waaaaaayyyy back… I worked for a newspaper called The Journal. There was a fax machine that sat in the corner of the newsroom. And right next to the fax machine was a bin to collect the faxes. And just to the right, on the floor, there was a trash can.
Each day, the newspaper would receive a bunch of faxes. Most were very well written press releases. Some were advertisements. And others were hastily written press releases.
All of the faxes that came in went into the bin beside the fax machine.
At the end of the day or the following morning an intern (or whoever was the lowest on the totem pole) would grab the stack of faxes from the bin… sort through them… and then THROW THEM AWAY.
Maybe… possibly… once in a while… a fax might spur a story idea. But I can’t really remember the exact scenario. In fact, I’m probably being kind to the efforts of thousands of PR professionals to even give credit to such a memory.
I tell this story because recently a client implored my firm to start doing press releases. They said, “Our marketing director used to do that! We need you to do that now!”
The MarketSmart take on this:
No one reads press releases. Journalists don’t put press releases in newspapers. And people are hardly reading newspapers anymore.
So don’t bother.