by Weber Shandwick

That’s quite a statement.

Personally, I don’t agree with it.

But it seemed to be a sentiment shared by others when I presented at the recent ARCS Scientific Congress.

It is a fact that modern communication has evolved rapidly through online and social media. This has resulted in the emergence of a range of new channels to reach audiences. Such as content-rich websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs.

And subsequently, the need to turn messages into content that these channels demand, has led to an increase in writing 140 characters for Twitter, creating images for Instagram, and producing videos for Facebook and websites.

But does this mean we now need to write the obituary for the long-loved press release?

Let me share my view with you…

“The press release is dead!” declared a fellow speaker during a presentation and panel discussion on the topic of “Strategies and Approaches to Public Discussions on Our Products and Services”. I presented and discussed the perspective of the communications professional in managing negative medical news in the public arena.

Now, I agree that the speed at which news travels has magnified immensely. Especially negative news.

But investing the time – or what time you have available – in creating a solid press release can play a big part in pushing back the media from beating your door down to get a quick grab or interview.

The press release – or media statement – gives you the opportunity to package your messages in one tidy communiqué that is fully approved by your medical affairs team. And here is where its beauty still shines…it becomes your primary tool in responding to a range of audiences and across multiple channels.

It is shared with media. It is posted on websites. It is edited down to short-form copy for social media posts. It is emailed to internal stakeholders and employees. It provides content for external stakeholders to read and re-post.

It is incredibly versatile in terms of distributing consistent information to multiple audiences. Especially during an issue.

Sure, it can take a little bit of time to create and approve. But once ready, it moves quickly and effectively.

Thank you press release! You ain’t dead in my eyes (just yet anyway).

Gareth Finch is Vice President – Head of Healthcare. 

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