Press Releases: Not just for the press, for everyone.

August 19, 2007

Back in the day, before Web 2.0, news about films (as well as practically everything else) was sent via press releases to various news outlets, who then published articles about the films.  Hardly anyone who wasn’t a journalist read press releases.   Nowadays, everyone is surfing the Internet for press releases, rather than just relying on traditional news outlets.  With the proliferation of Internet newswires like PRnewswire.com (among many other newswire services) and RSS, everyone, not just journalists, can get first-hand news by reading press releases.

David Meerman Scott, one of my favorite experts on marketing in the era of Web 2.0, has written some insightful information explaining the movement of press releases away from the exclusive domain of journalists, and encouraging those who write press releases to write them for everyone to read, not just journalists.

Studios are getting on board with this concept. Chris Thilik points out, in a piece he recently wrote for Brandweek, that Sony Pictures now has a public press room with press releases, downloadable posters, corporate logos, and still photos, for their slate of upcoming holiday films. As Chris points out, they’re lacking a RSS feed, which may limit their exposure, since more and more people (including me) depend on RSS nowadays to get news. Still, it’s a bold move.  And about time!

The indie house, Yari Film Group, is also trying to get with the Web 2.0 program. They have an RSS feed for their blog and are running their own RSS feed containing news from other sources about their films. Yes, their blog and their press page are woefully out of date. Their online marketing department had a recent switch in personnel, but I know their new department head will soon have things back in tip top shape. The point is, they’re trying. How many production companies have blogs, RSS feeds, and offer readers the ability to not only get info about their filmmakers, but also leave feedback?

When preparing an announcement of the latest news about your film, remember that press releases should be written for everyone to read. Sure, you want journalists to pick up your release. Having Variety write an article about your film would be a good thing! Everyone else (bloggers, people hanging out on MySpace, FaceBook and other social networking sites) can also write about and discuss your film. Make sure your press releases are also written for them, and acessible to them.

Tip: Press releases on films are not read just by journalists, everyone reads them.
Talk: Do you have press releases about your film up on the Web? Post the link in comments and I’ll feature it in a future post.