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Press releases

Florida Press Association Finally Explains ‘Fangate’

Charlie CristHere’s the press release to end the week: The Florida Press Association and Leadership Florida have attempted to explain Governor Rick Scott‘s “Fangate,” and they succeeded in making it sound as confusing as it looked.

A letter provided to both Scott and Charlie Crist read that “candidates may not bring electronic devices (including fans), visual aids or notes to the debate, but will be provided with a pad and pen.”

Crist agreed “but with the added hand-written note ‘*with understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.’”

And that’s where everything went wrong.

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HBO, CBS Score #PRWin at Netflix’s Expense

You may have heard that HBO made lots of headlines yesterday by announcing that its first standalone streaming service would launch in 2015. This was great news for people like us, who only use their parents’ HBO GO password when Mom and Dad are in town…super serious, you guys! Fingers not crossed!!

It was also a brilliant act of PR — and CBS followed it up today by doing HBO one better:

Going to have to agree with Brian Stelter – this release was definitely worth more than five bucks. So why was this such a big PR win for the two companies?

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The Value of a Press Release Is (Apparently) Five Dollars

Since it’s a (week)day, it might just be time for yet another post on the value of the press release.

This morning Derek DeVries, senior associate at Lambert, Edwards and Associates, noticed this promoted post on Facebook:

ICYMI, Fiverr is the startup that promises to help you do anything for the not-at-all arbitrary price of $5.

The list of tasks included under that flimsy umbrella just happens to include a big category for “find public relations professionals,” all of whom seem eager to compose said releases for the stated fee.

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Press Release Alert: Rev. Al Sharpton Got A Birthday Call From Hillary Clinton


Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and MSNBC host, turns 60 this Friday so he threw himself a birthday party at the Four Seasons last night. And the guest list includes some notable names: Spike Lee, Sen Chuck Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio Aretha Franklin and BET CEO Debra Lee among them.

One of the names not on the list was Hillary Clinton. But don’t worry folks. The Rev’s birthday wasn’t ruined by her absence. Indeed, she did call to send her regards. And we got the scoop from Rev. Al himself, who issued a press release with the news.

“A half hour before going on his MSNBC show PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Rev. Sharpton received a call from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who wished him a happy early birthday (Sharpton will be sixty this Friday),” it reads.

#Blessed

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Amazon Not At All Desperate to Sell You a Fire Phone

kindle store

Today in Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? news, Amazon launched its first phone this summer to the great excitement of…

Exactly. In fact, the only thing we remember about the launch is disbelief over the price of the exclusively AT&T phone.

Now, in a move that amazingly coincides with Fire’s UK launch, Amazon is cutting that price by 90 percent. From the press release, which somehow found coverage on nearly every tech blog this morning:

Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, world-class customer support with Mayday, free unlimited cloud storage for photos, 32GB of storage—and, for a limited time, customers get 12 months of Prime membership with Fire phone, which includes unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes from Prime Instant Video, access to over a million songs to download or stream from Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and free two-day shipping on tens of millions of items.

We know nothing about the phone in question, but we do hope its voice search option has better grammar than that sentence.

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Is the Press Release Ready for Its Latest Makeover?

Tiny Pitch

We know, we know: you’re tired of reading stories about whether the press release is dead or not. So are we!

One of the most/least surprising findings in the Business Wire survey we posted on last week held that “traditional” releases are still quite valuable for journalists covering big-name corporate clients.

And yet.

We’ve covered Jason Kintzler‘s PitchEngine a good bit in the past thanks to his ongoing efforts to convince PR “to do more than attach a word doc to an email when it comes time to pitch.”

He does have a new product called Tiny Pitch to show you, but we were interested in a longer conversation about the state of the pitching process and the blunt instruments we use to do it.

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STUDY: Journalists Spend Less Than One Minute Reading Each Press Release

Press releases

They all blend together at a certain point…

We have a new candidate for least surprising survey conclusions via comms firm Greentarget: journalists like your press releases nice and short.

No, shorter than that. Shorter…shorter…almost there…

This one hits a little too close to home for us. Key stat: the average participant in this survey received approximately 50 releases every week–and spent less than one minute reading each one he or she opened.

You’ll click through and spend about three minutes reading this post though, won’t you?

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PR Newswire Will No Longer Tolerate Your Spam

spam_can-SMWhile The Associated Press announced its plans to use robots to create financial press releases today, PR Newswire went in the (sort of) opposite direction last week with a new regulatory crackdown on spam. We missed it at the time, but now we’re on the case.

This move is interesting in that it won’t be based on algorithms alone: instead, the organization reports that its own editorial staffers will review submitted releases to make sure they deliver real value to readers via “a number of message elements” like original research and substantial analysis.

In other words, no more link-farming or jargon dumps/SEO tricks–in theory, at least…

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Will Robots Write Your Client’s Next Press Release?

shutterstock_169002578

Did you take our headline too literally? Our apologies. Robots will almost certainly not write your next press release…or the one after that, or the one after that.

The Associated Press did, however, just announce a very real “robotic content production deal” with a company called Automation Insights. In fact, the AP even published a Q&A on the matter which very closely resembles…a traditional press release!

Of course there’s more.

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What You Need to Know About Panda 4.0

PANDA@

When Google released its Panda 4.0 algorithm update in May, the company claimed that it was all about improving search results and eliminating “thin” content from top rankings.

Yet some sensibly asked whether the move was all about punishing newswires. Google’s Matt Cuts had fed speculation in the past by tweeting his disapproval of “very spammy queries” and calling press releases “owned content”–and third-party analysis showed significant SEO drops for the biggest wire services in addition to sites like eBay and Ask.com.

Several blogs have since debated what the changes mean for PR–and we asked Gijs Nelissen, co-founder of CRM provider Prezly, for his take.

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