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The Press Release is DEAD

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Vigilante

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Well, not really dead, but...

Talk with any professional PR agency and they will tell you that press releases no longer do what they used to be capable of doing. In a pre-internet era, the press release was the way you could access media and attempt to get your news into circulation. Back in the day, you would have a press release drafted and then manually circulated to reporters and news organizations hoping it would catch someone's attention. I am old enough (sigh) to remember when you literally would draft a press release with a future release date, typically around 14 days from your mailing date. You would then mail the press release to your targeted media outlets (actually, your PR agency would do all of that) and hope for some attention from a news paper.

Then, fax. Same process, only shorter lead times. Then, email. Shortened the news cycle to 48 hours initially, then 24 hours. Now, in the Twitter era, companies have direct access to media feeds, news organizations, and directly to targeted audiences. The press release... is it DEAD?

Not yet. Publicly held companies still use official company news releases to feed stock market investors and prognosticators official company news. There's no "leaking" news out on Twitter or through other means, as in some cases this can even be a violation of insider trading laws and fair disclosure. So, there's still a formalized process for using press release distribution services to enter into the stream of public company disclosure news.

What about for the little guy? There is still a need for the press release, but now for a different purpose. Since your news can circumvent news editors and go directly to the target, now you craft a news release to play directly to your audience. While there is still limited value in using a low cost distribution service for your news, moreso you are using your writing skills to draw up messaging to be exposed to a specific audience (demographic) that you want to reach. You control the message, and the medium.

For this purpose, I propose that professional news release distribution services are insignificant. By way of example, if I am speaking at an event, the people who I want to get that message are people in the vicinity of the speaking engagement, people who would track or care about that engagement, people who would follow the company and use this type of news as social proof of legitimacy, and people who may be influenced by that type of news credibility such as retail buyers. So, for my speaking engagement, I might draft a press release and then circulate that news :

1. With the event organizer to their fans and followers
2. To my personal following on LinkedIn
3. To my company following on LinkedIn
4. To my company Facebook page
5. On twitter
6. I still may try and network it to local news organizations who may have some interest in the content

For that, there are a couple ways of making the message appear professional even though it is "garage." First, draft the release professionally, following all normal press release template suggestions for professionalism. Once you have a newsworthy press release put together, you can :

  • ghetto publish it on your own company blog, and then simply distribute the link to your targeted distribution
  • find a "free" press release distribution service, of which there are dozens, and upload your release to them for distribution. After they publish it, you still then share your link with your network(s).
  • use a modestly priced PR distribution company, like PRWeb or EINNewsWire
Consistency is the key to this strategy. Regular communication, professionally written, and consistently communicating with your audience is the key. You want the repetition of news feeding to your audience, and be consistent with regard to your delivery mechanisms. Allow your targeted audience to get used to your business rhythm.

All of the above can be done on a shoestring/bootstrap (or no) budget. These are the ways that I built my last company's marketing messaging from obscurity to prominence and eventually SALE, and these are the same simple guerrilla tactics I am currently using for several concepts I have in the startup stage as we are pushing several new consumer products out to market.

The press release is not DEAD but your need to engage professionals to craft your marketing message may be. You can now engage with your audience carefully, intentionally and successfully.
 

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Remember for your press release - still follow news release protocol.

Kick a$$ headline
Subhead
Dateline
Who, what, where, when, why in opening paragraph
Meat needs to really be newsworthy
Photo if relevant
Quote if possible
Boiler about you and/or the company, and how to get in touch for more information

I just made up that list from my head, but that's the general flow. Do some research before you write one, because even though ghetto you still want it to READ like it was written by a pro, which you are. PR etiquette should not be cheated for this strategy. Keep it professional. Choose your words intentionally and carefully.
 

Eskil

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Good advice, and you can add OnlinePRNews to that list. I have used them several times and they've been good.

Also - do NOT use salesy or promotional language, or language that sounds like you are bragging/boasting about your product or company.

Instead, make it "story" centric. If and when any journalist or outlet finds it newsworthy, they will do so because you already had an angle. Something they can work with easily.

If you're sending it directly to individuals, be sure to include links to your press kit, which should include a collection of your best images - preferably as a shared Dropbox or Google Drive folder for easy access.
 
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Vigilante

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Also, forgot to mention one of my primary objectives of doing the release is to create something that will backlink and live forever as a search result for SEO and social proof purposes.
 
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What Is Included in an Electronic Press Kit:
  1. Company Backgrounder
  2. Management/Staff Bios
  3. A Selection of Important Press Releases
  4. Products/Services Fact Sheet(s)
  5. Case Studies
  6. Noteworthy Press Coverage
  7. Industry Awards and Accolades
  8. Digital Artwork
  9. Contact Information
credit : 9 Things That Must Be in Your Electronic Press Kit
 

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Had some decent success recently with press...

Fast Company, several big industry news sites, big local mag.

It is inexpensive, but it can be time consuming.

I would find the writer at the publication most likely to write about the story (5-15 min), skim a couple of their articles, get a feel for what they're about. Then tailor the angle my pitch in such a way that it would appeal to them.

You all have more "newsworthy" things happening in your business every month than you think you do.


And if you don't, then "make" some news.


Media/press is going to be a growth channel focus for 2020. Too time consuming for me to do myself, so will be hiring someone full-time to do it.


Thanks for the press kit notes @Vigilante. We'll need to do that.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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I can’t for the life of me come up with ANYTHING press release worthy and I have an account with Quantum.. Oy

#tinybusinesswoes

ETA: This is obviously just me bitchin. I’ll figure it out. My original thank you to the OP was cuz the thread, being so well-written, made me realize I need to sit down and figure it out. I’ve been putting it off.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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