I hate to be the bearer of bad news… but the press release is getting a little long in the tooth. The old gal is being put out to pasture, hanging up her heels, and retiring her dance card.
Let’s face it, she’s been misunderstood and misused for far too long. And to make matters worse… she’s losing credibility.
But don’t count her out of the game just yet. While she may be old school, the press release continues to serve a vital role in PR. She’s just not as relevant as she once was.
The key is to knowing when to write a release and when to switch to the pitch.
Let’s break this thing down.
The Problem with Press Releases
Bloggers, journalists, and producers receive hundreds of press releases a day. Most of them are poorly written, boring, and filled with irrelevant information. In fact, the majority are never even opened, due to sleepy subject lines and hokey headlines crammed with jargon.
Many members of the media simply see press releases as pure spam.
Think about it…media mavens want exclusives. They don’t want to be force-fed the same news that’s going out to hundreds if not thousands of recipients.
The sad truth is that businesses and nonprofits spend countless hours and resources crafting quotes and writing releases that will never be read.
When to Write a Press Release
While I may “dis” the release, there are times when it works like nobody’s business. Here are a few examples of when to write a release:
- To Make an Announcement: new product, new hire, new customer, new partnership, new research, new shoes (just making sure your paying attention), new numbers.
- Reaching a Milestone: anniversary, number of customers served, etc.
- Promoting an Event: performances, speakers, galas, rallies, and calendar listings
- To Increase SEO: press releases are a great way for consumers to find you online. Whether you post it to your website or send it out through a wire service, a press release infused with keywords helps you get discovered and increases your search engine ranking.
When to Switch to the Pitch
Rather than constantly bombarding the media with press releases why not spend the time creating a customized contact list? In the long run, its more effective and will help generate the type of press that moves a business forward.
Start by handpicking twenty journalists/ bloggers/influencers who cover your industry. Research their area of interest, their audience, and think about why they should care about your pitch/story idea. In other words, what’s in it for their readers/audience?
Journalist/bloggers are looking to be inspired. Give them something unique and tell them why and how your story idea will resonate with their readers/audience. In other words, think like a publisher.
Personalize your pitch as much as possible. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Bullet points, story angle, interviews, and potential resources should all be included. Make it memorable and unique.
Bottom line…..the press release still holds weight but it should be used sparingly and when appropriate. Otherwise, switch to the pitch and start engaging the media rather than enraging them with too many press releases.
So what say you? When do you think press releases work? Share your story and let me know what you think.
Peace, love and powerful press.