Press Releases: an important part of your marketing strategy
Press Releases when combined with other marketing strategies can be an effective means to increase your visibility in the market by getting mentions in the media and other influencers. Taking a line from the movie “Field of Dreams” to “build it and they will come” attitude does not work for most products or services. In the same vain, “Post it and your message will get noticed” will not work either. Just posting a press release is not going to get you noticed. It needs to get attention with the right message and targetted to the right audience.
Press Releases are not a numbers game
I have run into quite a few executives that want press releases to go out as much as you can physically produce: daily, weekly, or monthly. They believe that this will not only increase the likelihood of being seen, but also, make the company seem more legitimate. This wrong on two counts. First, Newswire estimates that hundreds of releases are posted daily in the US alone and thousands are posted globally every day. Media and other influencers need to locate your release among all those other releases. Secondly and most importantly, you need to have something important and newsworthy to say. If you keep repeating yourself or simply write a release for the sake of just having another release, your release will just end up as SPAM. When you DO have something new and important to say, your news will just be ignored.
Press Releases are news and not advertisements
The intent of a press lease is get mentioned by a media writer, editor or influencer that can reach your target market. The media wants something that is not only news worthy, but also of interest to their audience.
When writing a press release, the target audience is the press for that one segment that you are trying to reach. Target the right press and editors that match your current market. A press release targeted for a broad market will be far less powerful. If you are targeting multiple media for multiple markets, write multiple press releases.
The press release title must gain the attention of your target at a glance. The title must announce something of interest to the media’s audience. “We have a new product” is not very powerful. Unless these editors are sitting at their desk just waiting for your specific product, a product specific title will not attract much attention. “Our new product improves the way your audience does x. Think of something that differentiate you from your competition. “Our company just named a new CEO” is also not very powerful. Think about how this new CEO is going to impact the media’s audience.
Don’t depend on luck for media attention
As I mentioned previously, editors get access to hundreds to thousands of press releases every day. It is absolutely ok to contact editors. Do your research. Locate editors that have specific interest in your target market. Look at what they have written about. You will find some that are just critical to some subjects and some that are more open. Find the ones that would be open to your news.
Additionally, call the editors both before and after release of the press release. Before you send out the release, let them know that something new and of interest is coming. Give them just enough to pique their interest. Once you release or post the document, give them a call again. This is not the time to be shy. Keep the conversation about their area of interest and what your product does for this area of interest.
Be ready when the press release works and the media comes knocking
Along with the press release document, develop a ‘frequently asked questions’ document (FAQ). Anticipate any questions or reactions that you will need to respond to. Keep this document as complete as possible and include both questions that you would love to answer and those that you would dread answering.