Secret #2: The Press Release is Dead.

Well, not exactly, but close.

Whenever we get hired by a company, the first thing they want to do is go over all the press releases that we will write. Then we break the news to them: the press release is dead. Clients have a hard time wrapping their heads around this. ‘Press releases’ just sound so official and heavily read. Then we say, ‘When you get a mass email blasted out to you that you KNOW is going out to a bunch of other people, and your job is to write the next new, exciting story, would you be sold by that mass email?’

DUH! No!

So the press release is not REALLY dead. BUT it is not the same tool it used to be. So what is?

The Press Release is No Longer Elite

Back in the old days, you needed to have the secret decoder ring to get a press release out on the wire. You also had to have a lot of money and influence to ensure that it got to the right place. Not anymore.

The means of distributing a press release nowadays is both cheap and easy. Sites like Press Release Jet and PR Newswire make it really easy. Selecting the right service can be tricky since there are several free and paid services to choose from that will send your release to various outlets.

Let’s just say that the press release has been resurrected as a side tool, but the main tool is: the pitch. Master the pitch and you will win all the reporters over. More on that in later posts.

The Makings of an Effective Press Release

There are a lot of great resources on writing a great press release, so I won’t bore you with all nuts and bolts like creating a great headline, use hard numbers, make it grammatically flawless or include quotes where possible. What we will cover is how to make your press release as effective as it can be.

If you recall, the whole point of PR (as in Public Relations) is to get the word out about your company and have the press cover said company. The press release is the preverbal tip of the spear that gives the world a taste of what your company is all about. In order for them to be the effective, make sure you have the following:

  • Up-to-date Press Kit: Press kits should be easy to find on your website. Don’t have one? We’ll need to fix that.
  • Social Media Consistent with the Release: After you do the release, your social media should be consistent with the message. Don’t jump the gun on this because anything done before the release makes it not newsworthy.
  • Good SEO via Content Marketing: Reporters need to be able to find your company and story via Google. So make sure to have good content on your company blog or website.
  • Up-to-date Website: Speaking of websites, make sure it’s up to date with the latest contact info and product information. I know this should simple, but I can’t tell you how many times companies fail to do this.

You Need To Think Beyond the Press Release

In a vacuum, the press release is not that effective. What a press release can do is spark interest from outlets that your social media or other media efforts can’t or don’t normally reach. This means that you have to have all those backup materials easily findable. That’s why its essential to have an up-to-date press kit, good SEO via content marketing, and a social media message that is consistent with what you are releasing. It’s vital that a press release is only used to focus on what can be backed up by multiple sources of information.

Think about that for a minute. Most reporters or industry analysts are looking for multiple sources of easily obtainable and credible information in order to cover your company. The press release is actually one of the least credible because it’s released by you and not vetted by others. You’ve made your press release credible but reporters can’t know that for sure, so when they Google your company, the other sources they find need to back it up your story.

Stumbled Upon This?

This post is part of a 7 part series titled 7 PR Secrets Every Founder Should Know But Are Not Told. If you stumbled upon this searching the innerwebs, please join us for the full series. I would really appreciate it.