Is your press release like a message in a bottle?

This evergreen post was published on our blog in 2009. We have updated it for today.

When to use press releases

Is a press release any good anymore?

Depends.

If you are pitching a national story with strong news interest and relevance, you can use a release to make sure select outlets and journalists you interact with have all the information they need. However, if you are just using it like a message in a bottle, casting it out on the water just to see who answers; not so much.

Press releases have evolved

The use of press releases has evolved. Releases are a great tool for reaching prospective customers if you publish them to your own website. Self-publishing them to your blog or newsroom first is critical. Avoid putting them on multiple free press release sites as these move traffic away from your own site and this tactic has sailed like a ghost ship over the horizon. Google even may mark your website as spam if you post press releases to non-relevant sites. The reality is that releases can help you deepen content on your website and are great when optimized well to bring interested customers to your site.

The days of mass blasting of a news release are gone. Or they should be. If your public relations consultant says this is what you should do, run! What is imperative is a carefully crafted pitch to bloggers, social media followers and interested journalists with whom you’ve developed relationships. Get to know journalists in your field first. With bloggers, seek permission to send a release or know that they are open to receiving your release before you send it. And for all outlets and journalists, make sure to deliver your press release in the manner that they request. Some reporters and editors no longer wish to receive press releases via e-mail and have returned to the days of snail mail.

Relationships come first

Don’t wait to get to know bloggers and journalists; develop your relationship with them over the course of time. Follow them on social media. Reading and following their writing, interacting with them on social media and commenting on their work. Create value and become a known source and then when you have a story to pitch or news to share, they frequently are much more open to receiving it.

If you need help attracting attention for newsworthy stories from your business, give us a call. We’d love to provide our counsel to your business.

PR not always about your products, events

Note: This article originally appeared on our blog in 2009. We have updated it and re-published it.

Companies that care about their communities and strive to become integral in them gain positive feelings and more engaged employees. They also cultivate a more positive brand.

In an article in Entrepreneur Syed Balkhi writes, “Letting consumers see the people behind the business is a powerful way to humanize your brand. If consumers are looking at just your logo all the time, they might not see your brand as human. So, put your team members in the spotlight.”

Additionally, according to Entrepreneur, “numerous studies show that the higher a company’s CSR score (the more it is committed to volunteerism), the more pride employees have in their organization — and in their job — and the happier and more satisfied they are with their job and company.” Such positive feelings are important to individual and company perceptions.

Go beyond earned media

Many people fall into the mindset that PR is only about gaining earned media placement for a company’s products or news and events. Public relations go so far beyond simply getting an outlet to carry your news. The best PR tells a story. It intrigues. It inspires. It elevates.

There is other side of publicity sharing information about your leaders and staff to humanize your company.

Create depth and dimension with unique stories

As an example, a local video production company has a photographer who is interested in documenting a small social business which is taking medical supplies to Ghana. Supporting the project and assisting her in obtaining donations, or shipping them or storing them demonstrates a real commitment to a cause created by the team member. Sharing information about the photographer’s search for funding and the skills that he will use to document the project can support the cause and expand the image of the company in the minds of consumers.

I’m not suggesting that you exploit your staff or their good works, but that you seek opportunities to offer information that really opens up what people think of your team and your firm. Being in business means being a part of a larger community. Demonstrating how you and your associates do that gives depth to your individual and personal brands as well as lifts the perception of your firm.

Gaining earned media is more than just telling us that you’ve just hired a new Director of Marketing. Give your staff opportunity to volunteer and be involved. Identify causes the company wishes to support. Then go out and do good works.

We are all more than just our titles and functions. We are the people who make up the company, not the human resources. So, share the interesting information about those who are the life of the company.

Photo credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

PR Important Dates and Holidays

This article originally appeared on our blog in 2008. We’ve updated it with the information and examples of how you can use holidays, national observance days and more in your marketing and PR strategy.

Keep up with annual holidays which may impact plans for your company’s public relations and marketing.

Annual holidays and observances are natural PR hooks

PR pros plan our client’s calendars, social media strategy and other activities around holidays and important remembrance events. We also utilize important anniversaries as hooks for our client’s PR messaging. Contests and promotions can be built around holidays and observances. Read our article on contests and promotions

For years there have been Labor Day sales, Columbus Day sales and other types of promotional events tied to government holidays. When many people are off work they look for activity and shopping has always been something people do when they have a block of time. Though with the advent of online shopping’s explosion, new holidays like Prime Day have been concocted to drive online shopping into targeted channels.

American Express® defined Small Business Saturday to encourage and recognize the predominant form of US business — small businesses — and the resulting adoption of this single day has driven many campaigns across the United States.

Don’t overlook significant corporate anniversaries

If your business has been operating for a long time, say 100 years, and you’re coming up on that significant anniversary (or even 50 years) developing a pitch for the media or sending a media release about how the firm has reached this unusual mark could potentially land you some really cool mentions.

Using this same example, you could build an entire month of social media strategy around the number 100, recognizing your best 100 clients; or giving prizes to 100 customers across the course of the month. Brainstorm with your team to develop ideas on how to recognize and honor those that helped achieve longevity in business.

Here’s a link to the calendar of American Holidays as recognized by the US government, but these are only the ones recognized by government. 

Wacky holidays, national observances can used in your marketing

For example, July is national ice cream month. When planning your social media calendar or your marketing plan for the month, you can use this as well as other unusual observances in your content strategy. Find a way to tie them in with promotions and ads to piggyback on buzz which is being created across social media related to the observance. Don’t forget to use the official hashtags in your posts.

Time and Date provides a very long list of all kinds of unusual holidays. BrownieLocks.com has been around a long time and I’ve referred to their list for years. 

You will also want to check your local events and holidays as well. Is there a significant date in the history of your town? Or how about an important event that is associated with your town?

In the Charleston area in August, many people remember the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. That tragic storm gets people talking: about hurricane preparedness, the storm’s impact on their lives and structural soundness of buildings and much more. If you’re a home builder or building supplies provider, you could build a very informative educational campaign around the lessons learned about being prepared by interviewing locals, getting insights into what’s different in the building codes and more that could be used in blog posts, social media activity and in-store promotions.

Using Google My Business you can keep the public informed about your openings and closures around legal holidays such as New Years Day, Memorial Day and all the legally recognized holidays. Google My Business even prompts you to update your hours in the weeks prior to an important holiday. 

Let your messages be informed by date driven PR

With creativity you can have fun and grow your business and even gain some new media attention.

Need assistance planning your marketing strategy to tie in with holidays? Give us a call at 843.628.6434 or use our contact form to get in touch.

Photo by Tobias Zils on Unsplash