What has happened to press calls ?
Once upon a time, a date and time would be set and the press could then go along and take some photographs, listen to a presentation maybe and just talk to people.
They have been replaced by just a press release. That can be an easy job-done by a publisher, a quick cut and paste and the news item is on-line, but looking exactly the same as it does on that other website that also cut and pasted the news item.
But in some ways this has been brought upon the publishers by themselves, the lack of reporters and staff photographers mean that they are much less likely to turn up for something. Those wanting the coverage know that which is why they tend to turn the handle on a press release.
But attending a press call means that you can make so much more of a news item, more than you are ever likely to get on a press release. That isn’t being critical of PR agencies, it’s more about a reporter needing to write something in his own way. It also gives an opportunity for the reporter to challenge. A PR agency is never going to give a paying client a grilling, not if the want repeat business.
- Reading, cutting and pasting a news item, rejigging a picture – 10minutes
- Drive to a location, wait for the press call to start, the press call, pictures, return trip, writing it up, editing images – 2hours
The opportunity to challenge and dig into a news item should be key to the publisher in putting out a news item that they have confidence in.
While you can ask for more information to the PR company, often that process can be slow and if you are working an inbox full of emails there is tendency to think that something is ‘good enough’