Whether or not the embargoing of press releases is still relevant today is something that we’ve probably all debated. Regardless of the answer – in the beauty sphere, at least – it’s still going strong. I’ve had 50+ emails bearing info “under embargo” since the start of the month alone.
I get why embargoes are used. And when the use is mutually beneficial – allowing journalists time to plan stories on an exciting announcement, which generates blanket buzz when the embargo around it is lifted – they work well.
What frustrates, though, is when one publication is given an embargo date that’s wildly different to the date all other press receive. I’m all for exclusive placement, but when it comes to news, a short window of exclusivity on assets seems fair (even though nothing stays exclusive on the web for more than a minute). It seems ridiculous to enforce a week’s wait – which does happen.
Twice recently my editor has asked me to cover something that’s ‘out there’, yet the info I’ve been sent on it has remained under embargo. In these situations, our publication looks late to the party if I wait until days later and use what formal assets I’ve been sent for a story. But should we run with what’s already been featured by another title/on social media, the reporting looks a bit second rate. Neither option is thrilling for a journalist (or their editor).
Another gripe I have when it comes to embargoes is inappropriate use. When they’re strategically employed to tactically demonstrate importance, it smacks of arrogance instead of sparking intrigue. It’s just hype, but it happens all the time.
The takeaway? Use embargoes sparingly. And fairly.
What Bridget Thinks…
“Haircare brand Unite is getting good value from its ambassador here. This ‘get the look’ details exactly how he styled the celeb’s own hair and her wig, breaks down the trend (a shaggy ‘wolf cut’, of course) with a clicky quote, and links out to references of other looks – just like a journo would do in a digital story.”