reWORD • SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
Clients sometimes come to me concerned about the effectiveness of sending out press releases each time their company has an announcement to make. With exception to blue chip companies that hire armies of PR experts to handle their corporate announcements, I tell them that, in general, press releases are giving way to Twitter, blogs and other social platforms because of their cost-effectiveness, reach, viral potential and overall performance.
I myself have written quite a few press releases during my time at Prodijeux Inc., developing and marketing edutainment products. Each new and improved edition was followed by a press release that trumpeted its virtues and innovation. And although the products I created won 15 international best game and design awards, no media scribe ever deemed our products newsworthy. All of the attention we were ever able to muster up were from attending trade shows, calling up people, sending out personalized notes, meeting in person and making sure to impress them.
According to wikipedia.org: “A press release, news release, media release, press statement or video release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, or television networks.”
According to me, and quite a few journalists would probably agree, press releases are generic pitches sent out to a whole lot of strangers in the hope that some fish will bite, get excited and write about your spanking new company, service, product or whatever announcement you pitched. Good luck.
Although sending out a press release is solely motivated by the honourable desire to be noticed and hopefully generate some free publicity, you could do much better than issue another humdrum and mind-numbing release to the media. For instance, it’s good to remember that journalists are all too often buried in mounds of tired, formulaic and unexciting releases filled with extravagant headlines, fake quotes and sensational, groundbreaking, revolutionary and amazing labels slapped onto everything. I repeat, it’s mind-numbing.
To get the best media coverage
Instead of doing what big corporations do to attract people’s attention and shape their perception—which by the way doesn’t work unless you happen to be Apple announcing its newest baby—you need to stand out, be different and impress. However, sending out a vague and generic statement as your first introduction will likely seem less than impressive. Definitely not the best way to get your story out there.
To get the best media coverage, you need to customize your story to whomever you’re pitching to. Call that person. Write them a personal note. Pitch in person and with passion. Make sure to do something meaningful (socially speaking), be remarkable and unforgettable. Remember, it’s not because your family and friends think you’re hot that it makes you newsworthy.
In the context of the Web, press releases are replaced by publishing online articles designed to increase a blog’s visibility by generating comments, stories, likes, recommendations and backlinks. You need to cozy up to your fan or client-base, get to know them and build a trustworthy relationship by letting them know who you are and what your values are. A standard, run of the mill press release just won’t cut it.
So, the effort invested in publishing articles regularly on your blog promotes its Internet SEO and positively influences its ranking on search engines. With good content, time and dedication, that equates to some very good coverage. And if you’re really outstanding and go crazy viral on the Web, it will be none too long before you get the best media coverage.