Should press releases encourage feedback?

(Michael Sommermeyer) raises another issue about the social media release, which I think is fascinating – why isn’t there an opportunity for two-way communications?  If it social media, shouldn’t it have such features as “comments”?

Yes, a journalist can email or call the PR to follow up – but what about giving feedback on the release online?  Would the journalist, or the PR, be interested in discussion online rather than having a one-to-one conversation?  Probably not as both have a vested interest in the offline discussion.

Michael Sommermeyer feels a truly social media release would require courage to seek comments and he concludes it would be bad PR. 

But what about as a way of improving the quality of press releases.  The media are always criticising the quality of press releases – so what if they could “Pop Idol” them.  Give them Amazon style feedback – or even rate the PR practitioner like an eBay retailer.

Would such public responses – which should praise the good as well as slate the poor press releases – result in a general uplifting of standards?

[Link to Wordymouth from ]

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

5 thoughts on “Should press releases encourage feedback?”

  1. I actually think encouraging comments would be good PR, but it’s doubtful if many companies would want to encourage comments on a press release. Press releases are meant to control the message and have always been a one-way street. We expect comments to come in once a story has been written and hope for only the best.

    A company like WalMart would be hard-pressed to allow comments on a press release. There would be too much negative feedback with little of it directed at the PR message. Allowing comments would only fuel the current negative vein.

    But if a social news release is truly social then it requires a feedback loop. You can’t say you’re making it social, when you don’t encourage comments, questions or social communication in any form. What we really have here is a technie news release full of links and perhaps links to comments.

    Sure we can point to other sources of comments, but what I’m suggesting is that a social news release would generate thought right next to the pitch. I’m not sure too many folks are going to go for that, but they should if PR is all about building trust through feedback.

  2. Agreed – I suppose what could be useful is if there is a private feedback system so that only the person commenting and the originator of the release could see the dialogue between them online. That would help develop the story for each party.

    At present, it still seems most practicable that this story development will be done offline via phone calls and email though.

  3. David – With all the feedback from journalists about loathing poor press releases, I really cannot why the profession keeps focusing on them in education and training. Also, too many “consultancies” see the press release as something to sell to clients – I had yet another conversation recently with someone who was bragging about working with SMEs on the basis of PR = press releases. No consideration of what the businesss needed to achieve and how to help realise that.

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