Press Release Strategy for Today's Media Reality

A town crier, wearing Georgian era regalia, spreads the news from a stand in the town square.

by Karen Newcombe

Back in ye good old days, business press releases went out to members of the press with the objective of enticing them to write about your company.  The standard press release was usually a bare bones list of the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. If your press release was picked up, a reporter would call to expand it into a story or interview. 

Those days are gone. 

Facing unbeatable competition from the Internet, media outlets have had to change or die. Those that changed are under tight budgets, and can ill afford a full team of  journalists, reporters, fact checkers and proofreaders. Their editors need new content every day that will bring readers to their website: advertisers pay for those views.

Today's editors look for press releases in the form of publication-ready articles. You are no longer trying to attract a member of the press to write about your firm: you must supply finished writing that is ready to use. Every editor that covers your industry and your clients' industries needs good articles with useful content. Here are some of the things they want to see in a press release:

  • Fact-checked, accurate content with perfect spelling and grammar
  • A compelling headline that grabs attention
  • Useful content that offers readers ideas or learning; content that is actionable
  • Clarity about what is opinion and what is fact
  • Clear use of language, minimal industry jargon, no meaningless fluff (e.g., optimizing metrics, scalable utilization rates)
  • Phrasing that readers might search for online, but not too much of it
  • Embedded hyperlinks to full version of reports, source documents mentioned, contacts named in the article, and further reading
  • Attractive graphics and images in the correct resolution and with proper attribution and caption 

Editors have tough jobs, little time, and limited resources. When your press releases have useful content, are well written, web-ready, need little effort from the editor to prepare, and are addressed to the right audience, editors will look forward to working with you. 

P.S. Leverage Press Releases with Multiple Uses

Just because you've sent a press release out doesn't mean that's the end of the story. Make sure you get the most mileage possible by:

  • Posting it on the news, media or blog section of your website
  • Include links to the article in employee signature blocks for a week or month
  • Turn the press release into part of your marketing collateral
  • Save up content from press releases and blog entries for a year and use them to write a report or book
  • Track your results to see which of your content pieces are bringing people to your site

Remember that not all results are measurable: the value you gain in the minds of customers and prospects as a thought leader, expert resource, or reliable business is nearly impossible to quantify. That good will in the marketplace builds the trust and business reputation that brings customers to your door. 

Photo credit: Bohpix / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

232QAWS© Karen L. Newcombe 2016     Email:   Phone: 954-428-5457