The press release has withstood the test of time, more than a century after it was first used by the legendary Ivy Lee following the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck. It stirred a lot of controversy early on, but it has now become a standard practice to easily convey an organisation’s message to the public.
With massive changes sweeping across the comms landscape in recent years, including a greater focus on integrated comms and digital: Does the press release still have a prominent role to play in the communications arsenal?
The good news is that the press release is here to stay. But it also calls for a massive renaissance, requiring communicators to change how they use it. And sometimes, PR professionals may need to opt for a different format depending on what the primary objectives are.
Here are five things to consider for a strategic approach:
Graphics and visuals have a stronger impact than words. People—and this includes editors at the media you are pitching to—have dwindling attention spans. You only have three minutes to impress them and hook them in. Having enticing visuals accompanied by less—but punchier—words can get your story noticed by editors, and set you apart from competitors.
A lot of comms teams function like they are on autopilot, simply sending out one release after another in the same old format, without giving it much thought. Whether it’s about a company restructuring and rebranding, a new product announcement, or a partnership, marketing communications teams usually leverage the press release as the default for sharing news with the media. But after blasting out the release to everyone in the media database, most companies are not getting much returns from the amount of effort they put in.
Depending on how you present your idea, you might lose your editor already in the first paragraph. Ask yourself: Is the pitch too much of a hard sell? Is the angle relevant to the media you are trying to target?
More often than not, the pitch carries a lot of weight. And this is where a lot of companies fail. Think of creative ways to present your story, it will make all the difference in getting your foot in the door.
Whenever there’s a product launch, companies churn out news releases that convey the features of the new offering. More often than not, especially in the case of B2B tech solutions, these news releases can be quite wordy and filled with jargon. Based on our experience, we’ve found that shifting from the wordy format—and leveraging an infographic instead—can make it easier for editors to digest the product information. Not to mention that some editors might actually reuse your infographic and feature it in their publications.
What is the end goal? Are you keen on getting your product featured in tier one consumer lifestyle publications? Instead of a press release, you may want to consider doing a feature story, where you can expound on the specific applications of the product, and make it appear more enticing to a specific consumer segment. Come up with a listicle highlighting why your product is the perfect gift for your friends and loved ones, with pictures showcasing how it’s being used.
If you think you can do away with SEO as you develop your press release, think again. Journalists are looking for content they can easily post online, so having an SEO-optimised press release can definitely help win their favour. Also focus on repackaging the media kit by adding video clips and other visual assets that can supplement your release.
Keen to deliver your message in the right format, without compromising on creativity and purpose? Reach out to our team of communications experts to explore how your brand story can rise above and be noticed.