Beyond the Press Release

The age-old question of the press release.

One of the most frequent requests our office receives is: Can I get a press release for this?

Initially, it can be an awkward conversation when we reply: I’m sorry, we no longer do press releases.

Instead, we collaborate with you and find other channels, tactics, and avenues to share your news with the world and directly with your intended audiences.

What’s so bad about a press release?

Nothing! But, we found they were becoming less and less effective for our purposes. Wire distribution of press releases was critical when it was difficult to distribute information to a large number of people. However, with today’s technology and media mix, we are able to target and connect with audiences directly, including media, influencers, funders, or a specific community. Whether it is via an email, Tweet, Facebook post, or blog, BU is able to reach targeted audiences instantly and easily.

Moving beyond the press release also allows us to connect with audiences in a digitally-first and dynamic way. Perhaps an animation, blog post, or Facebook Live is the best method to share your news? Narrative storytelling, like BU Today and The Brink, also helps to bring news and discoveries to life. With these channels, we are able to frame your story and share it with the world.

What has replaced the press release?

Our main vehicles for sharing institutional news and research are BU Today and The Brink. BU Today is our official news website, staffed with professional reporters, producers, photo journalists, and editors. The Brink, a sister publication of BU Today, highlights faculty discoveries, scholarship, and expertise throughout BU campuses. Both publications reach internal and external audiences, including the media, funding agencies, peer institutions, and the general public.

The BU Public Relations | Social Media team takes these stories and distributes them through a variety of channels, such as social media, partnership organizations, reporters, and influencers. These multimedia stories are more dynamic, in-depth, and engaging than traditional press releases and allow us to deliver great content directly to the public.

Is there more to do?

Of course! Depending on your news or event, there are many other ways to share your story. From a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) to original content, partnership collaborations, video, and photography, our team is here to work with you to understand your goals and recommend ways to connect with your desired audience. For inspiration, learn more about one BU research team’s PR success.

Who wants just a press release when there are all of these other options at your disposal?

If you have new research or an announcement, please reach out to the BU PR team at 617-353-2240 or pr@bu.edu.

Are there exceptions?

Press releases can still be helpful in specific disciplines, which is why some of our communication colleagues at the schools and colleges employ them. Each communication department understands their audience and media landscape best. So, while this is our team’s standard practice, other teams may vary their approaches. If you have a question about how your school or college handles press releases, please reach out to your communication contact at your school, college, institute or center.