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By Chris Hislop // Published on Sep 13, 2013

Ah, the mighty press release.

Before the time of digital media and the onslaught of information that floods our email, RS feed, and social networks on a daily basis, press releases were king. Anyone in the market of getting the their face – their brand – in the news had to submit a press release to local, regional, and national news outlets in the hopes that a reporter would pick it up and run with it.

While printed press seemingly continues to slowly fade away, press (traditional, and non-traditional) still exists in a big way in the digital sphere. Press releases are used differently now then they were back when the periodical industry was flourishing. Some argue that since newspapers are dying, so is the need for press releases. Not true. Today, releases must be written and used more like a feature story than a document with pertinent details and a quick complimentary quote. At their outset, a press release was used as bait to get a reporter to call you up and flesh out the story. Today, you need to have the whole story in the draft. You want to structure it in a way that allows periodicals (physical and digital) to take your release and run it verbatim.

What does this mean?

It’s simple really. Today, you are the journalist. You write the story. So get creative, get inspired, and write press releases that are memorable, and that will ignite engagement. Press releases are a piece of marketing collateral that can be spread across a myriad of mediums. Submit it to your press contacts list and see where it ends up on their end. Post it to your blog. Link to it within your social channels. Have a “press room” built into your website. A press release is a quality piece of content that keeps the news freshly flowing within your immediate network, and, with a little luck, is driven out to the masses as well (the masses include prospective clients as well – obviously). The prosepective audience, as it exists today in a digitally ruled world is far more vast, and far more accessible.

Again: You are the journalist. And why not? You can’t blame a reporter for a botched fact when you’re the one telling your own story. In theory the contemporary press release gets your story right the first time – with no area of question. In a sense, the job of the writer that crafts your organization’s press releases needs to stop writing press releases per se, and start writing feature stories. From an SEO perspective, feature stories (when distributed through social channels) are going to be picked up by search engines far more than your standard “who, what where, why, when” core data based release. But don’t write for the bots. Write for the people. When you focus on writing for the people, the rest will fall into place (if you’re writing effective prose – and that’s the ultimate goal).

Here’s what you need to implement the modern day press release:

  • Quality subject matter (like every other solid marketing initiative)
  • Quality copywriting to push said subject matter
  • Quality distribution list (of people and press outlets in your direct network)
  • Quality digital plan (Need an example beyond the obvious social media outlets? Here you go:

Take Away:

Implement a press release plan into your marketing initiatives. Don’t wait. Make it a priority. Tell your story. Shout it confidently, proudly, and consistently. Use your press releases as a piece of content that fuels other areas of your marketing channels. If you’re not in the business of telling your organization’s story, who will? If you don’t know, we/they/it don’t know. Don’t keep the press, and your network guessing. Lay it out on the table for them. People love stories, and poignant stories fuel successful brands.

Tagged Under - Business Advice + Marketing
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