The late 1920s were a period of economic stagnation that many of us can relate to today. It was a time when the Presidential administration of the day was of the belief that limited government interference was necessary to help support economic growth. For politicians at this time it meant that budgets were lower, but it also meant that there was little opportunity for politicians to be viewed as heroes to the American people, as they were shaping policy that affected American people.
Enter Herbert Hoover. At a time when it was hard for politicians to get attention for their efforts, as there were usually not many efforts to get them noticed, Herbert Hoover created a routine of distributing press releases (at least weekly, if not daily) so as to make it clear to the public that he was working on their behalf.
While Hoover created this practice at a time before social media, his effort can be easily applied to today’s media environment. Hoover set a precedent of creating news. He wanted the American public to know that even if the government was not spending large sums of money, they were still coordinating efforts to benefit the American people. By releasing these updates on a routine basis, the media became accustomed to this schedule and actively looked forward to this releases.
It may seem outdated, but Hoover’s use of press releases as a PR medium is one of the easiest ways for a firm (or politician, I suppose) to get their message out to the public. Of course, its easier for a cabinet level politician to get the press to pay attention to his releases than it is for a start-up venture, but the distribution of press releases via mediums like PR Wire is still one of the true level playing fields in the media today. Nearly any press release that is distributed will run across the media wires and be seen by media outlets. Its up to the marketing manager to optimize the use of keywords and title selection, so as to make sure the press release is actually seen by the intended audience.