The barometer of value
According to a research report from the three largest media distribution services in the country, nearly two thousand press releases are sent out each day. That’s north of a half a million each year.
Now, some people argue that this marketing approach is a form of spam. Just another impersonal, insulting, shotgun strategy for getting somebody’s attention. And perhaps that’s true. But the press release process is still an inherently worthwhile experience. Not only because it challenges you tell your own story, but because it requires you to create value. Otherwise you wouldn’t be writing it.
Lefsetz famously wrote that having a new album is not a story. That with a twenty four seven news cycle online, he says, what happens in your life is not a story. The hard core already knows what’s you’re up to and the rest don’t care.
And so, perhaps the press release isn’t the point. Perhaps the point is having interesting experiences and creating meaningful things in the world, all of which earn you the right to write a press release in the first place. After all, before you write things worth talking about, you have to do things worth writing about. Life is subordinate to art, not the other way around.
The press release for my documentary certainly didn’t go viral, but it still earned tens of thousands of headline impressions and hundreds of online pickups. And to me, that was a victory. Because it showed that I did something worth releasing.
If you were arrested and charged with creating value for people, would there be enough evidence to convict you?