The press release has become a PR tool so routinely used in day-to-day activities by communication professionals that its usefulness is rarely put into question. Many of my clients take a press release for granted and see it as a tool that makes my PR services tangible. My observation, however, is that in most cases, the press release is not the most important medium to get in touch with media.
There have been many discussions about this topic, such as Mike Butcher’s recent claim that the press release is dead. I will not discuss here how to write the perfect press release since it is well explained in Butcher’s post. However, I will name other ways to land a story without utilising a press release.
Unless you are announcing big funding rounds, financial results, company acquisitions or big company updates (which, let’s be honest, happens maybe once a year for very successful companies), your news can be reduced to a couple of impactful sentences.
Here are some tactics and situations where getting media attention and even getting coverage did not require to lose 5 hours of your precious time writing and clearing a press release:
- Market Insights
A tech reporter from Die Welt mentioned to me that very often he doesn’t find press releases coming from startups as useful as being pitched insightful comments from the founder on current and future market trends. He receives on average 20 press releases a day and only picks up the ones coming from bigger companies.
Don’t open your email with an endless pitch, get to the point and write down in 4-5 sentences what is going on. Adapt your pitch to your contact’s focus and beat. Make sure your facts and figures are supported with sources.
- Case Studies
Media and their readers, especially in B2B press, are keen in receiving case studies and best practices tips from specific industries and customers. Chose a campaign in which you succeeded well, or one highlighting how a customer enjoyed your product or service, leading to business efficiency. Frame the context and pitch the story on the basis of an exclusive. Accompany your case with high resolution pictures.
Newsjacking is a very helpful way to help clients give opinion or guidance on a topical news issue. For example, you may be a company offering a web plugin for end consumers to encrypt their IP-address. What input and expert analysis can you deliver on the banning of VPNs in certain countries of the world? In this context, your client’s opinion will demonstrate to the media that they know the market and issues well. This could result in the media coming back to you in the future as a reliable industry commentator.
By Flora Petersen