Press Releases Are Not Dead

Press releases are not dead.

Press releases: there’s a right and a wrong way to use them

Google has said that press releases aren’t the right way to create inbound links to your website. Nor are press releases best used as broadcast materials to spam editors and reporters.

What are press releases for?

Press releases which tell your story clearly and which support your brand and business goals while featuring genuine news are a valuable item in your marketing communications strategy.

Despite the fact that we advocate having an online news room as a component of your website, from time to time you are still going to need a release. Releases are best used to support a pitch to a journalist or to summarize important announcements about new products, promotions or corporate mergers or brief media in a crisis.

Fast Company provides five tips to help you create the very best press releases.

1. Develop and tell a coherent, compelling story. What makes your company tick? How do you delight your customers? What sets you apart from the pack?

2. Don’t just tout your product or service. Develop key messages that answer the question: Why should anyone care?

3. Use plain English. Avoid obscuring your message by using industry jargon and talking “inside baseball.”

4. Get your reader to engage. Use compelling elements such as data, visuals, and infographics to illustrate your points. And include a call-to-action that drives people to a landing page.

5. Hook yourself to a star. Tie what you’re doing to something happening in the news–especially if it’s in your sector or a targeted vertical market. Shine brighter in the reflected light of someone in the news.

If you’re not inclined to write your own releases and remain familiar with local media outlets and the journalists who bring you the news, give us a call. We’re here to craft great stories from your stories.

Mail Merge with Gmail and Google Drive

Mail merge with Gmail and Google Drive provides a very simple set of tools to create merged email

What is a mail merge? Wikipedia entry defines it as:

Mail merge is a software function describing the production of multiple (and potentially large numbers of) documents from a single template form and a structured data source.

Do you need to send unique, personalized emails to a list of people? For example:  You are managing a  trade show exhibit for an organization and need to tell each person what time they are supposed to staff the trade show booth. You could send them hand edited individual e-mails or your could simply use the spreadsheet you create to assign times and merge each individual’s time into an email just for them, attaching the whole schedule.  A merged email allows you to employ data contained in a flat database, AKA a spreadsheet, merge it with a saved draft email to produce a unique email specifically for a single recipient.

In the past people did this using desk-top email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, but with Google Drive and Gmail, you can do this without a desktop email application. There are some limitations to using Google Drive, Gmail and the script Yet Another Mail Merge because you are limited to 50 emails per day unless you purchase credits.

Another limitation is the need to carefully protect your status as a non-spammer and prevent getting your email blacklisted. If you have a large list of people who have opted in to receive email from your business, you are better off using a commercial email provider such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.

What is Google Drive?

Watch a video to learn more about Google Drive.

Google Drive home page with YouTube video about Drive
Visit the Google Drive homepage and watch a brief video to learn more about what Google Drive is and how to use it.

Advantages of merge email with Google Drive and Gmail?

  1. It’s pretty simple.
  2. You can get copies of the individuals emails in your inbox
  3. You can include graphics
  4. You can add attachments
  5. You avoid using desktop-tied applications
  6. Your work is “in the cloud” where you can get to it with all types of devices and from any computer.
  7. You save trees, because you’re not printing and snail-mailing information.
  8. You send everyone on your e-mail list a unique email just for them.

I’ve outlined how to format the mail merge with Gmail, install a simple script into your Google Docs spreadsheet with the specific information for your merge and then perform the merge. The script used is “Yet Another Mail Merge” which you will find by searching the script library as illustrated in the Slide Share presentation.