April 1, 2010

Often the best press release is the one you DON’T issue

I recently received an email that started


SAN FRANCISCO — EnterpriseDB CEO Ed Boyajian rejected a wide array of fixed, rigid, printed menu options at a local Sizzler this week in favor of the restaurant chain’s sprawling buffet.

“It was clear that the open, free, unconstrained nature of the buffet was the right choice,” Boyajian said.

This is not an April Fool’s joke. I really received that email a couple of weeks ago. True, it was a spoof, and came from somebody unaffiliated with EnterpriseDB. But the real EnterpriseDB press release it was spoofing was almost as bad, starting 

EnterpriseDB CEO Selected to Speak at Open Source Business Conference 2010
Ed Boyajian to deliver session on open source disruption in the database market

WESTFORD, Mass., March 15, 2010 — EnterpriseDB, the enterprise Postgres company, today announced that President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Boyajian will deliver a presentation at the upcoming Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) 2010.

I happen to be a non-fan of EnterpriseDB, both for its stewardship of Postgres and its attitude toward business obligations. But in fairness, I should note that many other vendors put out similar press releases; this kind of idiocy is distressingly widespread. Issuing press releases that absolutely nobody outside your company cares about is always a bad idea, yet a large fraction of all press releases are of exactly that kind.

Recalling my recent taxonomy of five kinds of PR — which of the following goals is advanced by issuing a press release about an utterly predictable, interesting, and ephemeral fact?

A.  “Sell” to the press.
B. “Market” to the press.
C.  Market through influencers to your end customers and prospects.
D.  Market through influencers to other influencers.
E.  Market to potential buyers directly.


F.  None of the above?

I’ll go with “F”, which is also the grade that should be assigned to any PR person who allows such a release to go out over his or her still-living body. Nobody cares that you bought yourself a conference speaking slot. Nobody cares even if you didn’t buy it. Not one extra person is going to attend your talk because the press release was issued. It might be vaguely interesting were you to be selected to keynote the Davos Conference, present an Academy Award, or address the UN General Assembly. But even then I’d suggest saving the press release for after the event (or the day of it), when it’s actual news.


Leave a Reply

Feed including blog about strategic marketing and messaging in technology and politics Subscribe to the Monash Research feed via RSS or email:


Search our blogs and white papers

Warning: include(): php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/strategicmessagi/public_html/wp-content/themes/monash/static_sidebar.php on line 29

Warning: include(http://www.monash.com/blog-promo.php): failed to open stream: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/strategicmessagi/public_html/wp-content/themes/monash/static_sidebar.php on line 29

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://www.monash.com/blog-promo.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/strategicmessagi/public_html/wp-content/themes/monash/static_sidebar.php on line 29