The press release isn’t the holy grail2 years ago
It’s easy to rely on press releases as your company’s main PR tool. Perhaps you set a quota of how many press releases you should be drafting and sending out every month. There is nothing wrong with this if you have enough newsworthy material to warrant it, however, all too often the press release is regarded as the holy grail of PR. Yes, they have their place in the PR mix but before resorting to this approach, it’s important to consider the following:
- Journalists can receive hundreds if not thousands of press releases into their inboxes every day.
- A journalist will typically spend just a few seconds deciding whether a release is of interest or not. If it’s not instantly attention grabbing it will be binned.
- Journalists will typically choose a handful of press releases to cover/follow-up on. After all, hard copy magazines and newspapers have a pre-defined amount of space to fill, and journalists only have a certain amount of time in which to research, draft and file their stories.
- The press release can only yield results if it’s well-targeted. All too often, press releases are sent to totally irrelevant journalists such as a release about cyber security sent to a fashion editor. If the distribution list isn’t given the attention it deserves then the release is wasted.
- Journalists do have favourites when it comes to public relations professionals and so stories from these PRs may well take precedent over press releases from unknown recipients. It’s also important to remember that if you frequently send out bland or poorly targeted press releases, the journalist will remember your name for all the wrong reasons and may well skip over your email without even opening it!
- Some publications/onlines don’t cover ‘news’ but are more interested in covering thought leadership pieces so press release stories will be rarely, if ever, covered.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider the place of the press release in any PR campaign. Never totally rely on releases for publicity generation, but instead consider the many tactics open to you and then select the ones that are most likely to yield the best results.