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January 25, 2010
'Template PR' Wearing Thin

Mark Ragan, CEO at Ragan Communications, unwinds against hapless press releases -- sadly, the typical products of PR agencies using the standard news release writing template. 

You know, the one that goes: name of company, the leading solutions provider for the name of industry, announces the appointment, purchase of, merger, etc.. of name of another company, the leading provider of name of product or service.

Really, how many times have we seen this sort of writing and thought how turgid it is? Imagine what reporters think of it. 

Ragan rightly asks, "Why do corporations continue to hire these agencies? Why do they continue to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on releases that no reporter will ever read, no media outlet will ever pick up? Is there no one at the client office that sees what we see?"

PR keeps billing clients for mindless output. Where are the agencies that realize, "Hey, if  I take a fresh approach and write a release describing news in the lead, and always use a fresh lead, I'll be ahead of the pack?"

Ragan thinks the parlous state of news release writing is due to agencies hiring "kids (who) have no background in the industry, and never learned how to write in college." It may be even worse than that -- the template may have been accepted by now as an efficiency standard. 

Think about it. Public relations agencies are relating in a patently crass manner to clients who haven't yet caught on. What happens when they do?

Thanks Mark. Right on. 


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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