Many companies use press releases for a variety of reasons. Some of these include:
- Announce personnel changes
- The opening and closing of offices/other types of facilities
- The development and introduction of new (or enhanced) products and services
- Participation at industry events
- Corporate milestones and awards
- Financial news.
So the question is: does anyone read these? Does anyone care? The answer is: it depends. Based on 20 years in business, we advise clients to consider three key factors as a guideline when producing their press releases. Be sure to ask these important questions:
Instructions for Press Releases
1. Is the content meaningful? Whenever a company produces content for external distribution, the originator needs to ask and answer, “Why is this information important?” to the people who will read the release. Does the release include information that is new, interesting and valuable? Does it offer a solution, reinforce the company brand, make people want to call or take some other action step? Is it newsworthy? Hint: Links within the body copy of the press release can go a long way in increasing engagement and reinforcing the message.
2. Does the release reach the right audiences? At the very least, companies need to post their news releases on their websites and issue them internally, even if they don’t distribute them elsewhere. This ensures that all internal stakeholders as well as website visitors are well-informed. In addition, there are a variety of external distribution services available such as PRWeb, e-Releases, Newswire, 24-7 Press Release, Marketwired and PRNewswire. Most of these services provide data about where the release was published and how many editorial views it received. They also give you the capability to target specific industry segments or marketplaces. Still another option when distributing press releases is to use a list custom-developed by the company. This would be carefully tailored to known media outlets as well as customers and prospects.
3. Is the press released used in conjunction with other marketing initiatives? A press release on its own is okay, but when used with other marketing programs, it’s even more powerful. For example, if a press release announces the publication of a new book and offers a free copy to the first 100 callers/responders, it increases the corporate buzz. Or if a press release announces the CEO’s keynote address and is followed up with a personal invitation for a select group of people to attend the event, it creates another meaningful touch point.
Creating Purposeful Press Releases
The bottom line is that press releases, like other marketing communications projects, increase visibility and name recognition in the marketplace. To add enhanced credibility to the list of benefits, make sure to produce content consistently, pay attention to the message and target the appropriate media outlets.