You’ve heard us talk a lot about building your brand and telling your story. It’s something every organization needs to do well, and a great way to put this in action is by distributing a newsworthy press release.
Many businesses and nonprofits misunderstand the value of a good press release and what exactly makes it newsworthy for a publication. Here, HS will guide you through the key principles we follow when creating and distributing press releases.
The Importance of Newsworthiness in PR
Press releases can be some of the most effective executions of storytelling. As earned pieces of media, they have a relatively low cost and reach a large amount of the public, all while building trust by going through a reputable publication.
Unlike ads or blogs, press releases come across as more credible since they are published through neutral media outlets. The public will perceive it as authentic, and their opinion of your brand will follow suit.
Marketers and stakeholders shouldn’t expect to measure the effectiveness of a press release through “sales” or “conversions.” The exposure and effect on your business outcomes is often gradual.
Some people might act right away because of a press release, but most will discuss it among peers before they act. You should always view press releases as something that sits at the top of your marketing funnel–it doesn’t replace your other marketing efforts.
And even though the potential reach is broad, you should still maintain a deliberate strategy. Always having your audience and publication in mind will help you focus on the intent of your press release.
Picking a Publication
Many marketers will assume that the bigger the publication, the better the results. While it’s true that national outlets and regional publications provide a lot of exposure, you need to be intentional in who you target, as many news events don’t apply to the general public.
For example, a press release about housing land developments in a rural town may be newsworthy for a few people, but it probably won’t make the front page of any major newspapers. Instead, you would want to look at publications that focus on business development, rural expansion and small town living.
Narrowing the scope of your audience to match your organization’s marketing persona is a great way to find publications that will care, no matter what industry you are in.
Building Relationships with Journalists
It’s important to know that not every press release or cold call to a journalist is going to result in news coverage for your organization. But what they will do is build your rapport with the press.
Unless you have a well established brand name or a track record of providing insightful press releases, journalists aren’t going to trust you right out of the gate. They need to know that you are trying to help them in addition to your organization.
If reporters start to notice your work as intriguing and authoritative on a particular subject, they may start giving you more press coverage–or even contact you when they need a good source of information.
These relationships can be hard to manage once you begin to have success, so make sure you keep every publisher’s contact information up to date.
If you can’t get traction with the press, it might be time to go to an agency. HS is skilled with implementing relevant marketing, and we have established and trustworthy relationships with the mass media.
How to Find News (Or Create It) Within Your Organization
Oftentimes, clients come to HS and assume they have nothing to offer the public in terms of news, or they have a story pinned down but it’s coming across as a sales pitch.
If there’s one cardinal rule to follow in PR, it’s this: a news release is not a rehash of your sales brochure. It’s important to write a press release for the publications and audiences that will be reading it, meaning you have to be impartial to what is going on and present it from a third-party perspective.
It’s helpful to approach the topic like a journalist would. Answer the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, why) and how, look to see why your story matters, and what is actually news.
If you’re struggling to find anything newsworthy about your organization, you might need an agency to look deeper. Many internal initiatives, notable team member additions, and company milestones make great PR–not everything has to be about a new product or service launch.
Implementing PR as a Part of your Marketing Mix
There’s no perfect formula or one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and PR. It requires a lot of research, testing, and evaluation to nail down an effective strategy.
If you need to get the right exposure, or just want help fine-tuning your funnel, don’t hesitate–reach out to HS.