There’s great debate over whether businesses should use press releases as part of their marketing mix. Many are vehemently opposed to them, including the authors of the book REWORK (the same guys behind 37signals). The authors devoted a chapter to how press releases are a waste of time and a bunch of junk.
I sometimes agree. Not all press releases are newsworthy. Not all press releases help your brand. However, I do think there is a time and a place for some press releases.
Do You Have News?
The fact that your business exists does not make it newsworthy, but certain things that occur within your business could warrant a press release. Including these:
- A new executive joins your organization
- A partnership, merger, or other significant business growth
- An upcoming event open to the media and public
- A new book, white paper, case study, blog, etc.
- The product/service you provide ties into something that’s happening on a larger scope, e.g., recent research study, talked about trend, politics, natural disaster, celebrity mishap, etc.
Getting a Reporter or Blogger to Care
I hope you noticed that I included both reporter and blogger in this subhead. Don’t overlook bloggers in your niche. These writers could be just as influential as those in mainstream media.
Come up with a story idea that is timely, relevant, and relates to your press release. Then research reporters/bloggers that cover this beat and create a media list. Note: Only contact one person at a publication, no more.
Next, contact each individual by sending a short and personalized email. DO NOT copy and paste your message. Tell them how your story idea will matter to their readership in one paragraph. Attach your press release to the email.
Last, if you don’t hear back, follow up with one phone call. Be brief. If the reporter or blogger doesn’t respond or seem to care, let it go. If you overstep your bounds, then your shot at pitching a story to them in the future will go out the window.
How to Promote Your Press Release With or Without Formal News Coverage
One of the best ways to promote a press release is through a news page on your website. Your news page can include media mentions, links to social media accounts, an event calendar, and, of course, links to press releases.
Other ways to promote your press release:
- Talk about your press release and link to it through your social media accounts.
- Repurpose your press release for content in your newsletter and your blog.
- Submit the press release through an online distribution site such as PRLog.org (free) or MarketWire (paid), so that you acquire a link back to your site — great for improving your search engine ranking. You’re also filling the search engine results pages with your own information.
The point: Your press release is worth it as long as it’s truly newsworthy, you don’t spam reporters and bloggers, and you promote it.