Are News Releases Still Relevant?
The Sprocket Report
The short answer is “Yes.” Now read on for a few tips on why you should write them, what to write about and where to send them.
Our society requires a constant stream of news and yes, good stuff is frequently buried under the mountain of junk that is churned out. But you can’t win if you don’t play the game. If you want the opportunity to be noticed in the stream, you have to keep floating your news along with the rest.
A few reminders first:
- No one can publish what they don’t know, so you have to tell them
- You can’t count on being published when or how you want
- Make it super easy for editors to publish your news to improve your chances
Smaller businesses and organizations tend not to send news releases because of one major fallacy – “Everybody already knows our news” – and that’s absolutely wrong. Remember the constant stream. Even if “everybody” already heard it once, they’ll need a reminder. And there are still many, many people who haven’t heard your news yet.
Organizations often fall into this trap because they’ve run the same event for years and figure “everybody knows.” But there is ALWAYS someone for whom this is their first time and they DON’T already know where the accessible parking area is or that tickets are cash only.
Folks read in a hurry and will make assumptions and mistakes. To minimize aggravation, try to spell out every detail on your website landing page in several different ways. While news outlets and online calendars can’t publish all of your details, you can certainly refer back to your website with a link.
Events make terrific news posts because they’re timely, but you probably have other news to share as well such as an anniversary, an upgraded website or a seasonal sale. The secret is to emphasize WHY your news is exciting.
For instance, if you were an editor, which would you be more inclined to publish?
News Release Version 1:
For immediate release
ABC Company Launches New Website
The ABC Company announced today that they have launched a new mobile website. The website may be viewed at www.ABCcompany.com. This improved site will make a big difference in the ABC Company customer experience.
News Release Version 2:
For immediate release
New Shop-From-Home Website by ABC
ABC Company customers now have the power to shop, purchase and track their order from their mobile phones. A new mobile-optimized website at www.ABCcompany.com was developed in partnership with XYZ Corp.
Folks tend to read through WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) glasses, so presenting your news to show how readers can benefit makes it more likely to attract attention. Also, mention your partners and supporters to encourage social sharing. Who doesn’t like to see themselves in print?
Agencies pay hefty subscription rates for news release services and that might be a good choice for you. But if your budget doesn’t allow that, do-it-yourself efforts can make a big splash. Read the local papers of your customer base. There is probably an online submission form or email for news releases, but even better is to find the reporters or editors who handle stories similar to yours and contact them directly.
Don’t get fed up if you don’t get the publicity you were hoping for with any single release. You can’t control the breaking news that will bump you and this shouldn’t be your sole publicity effort anyway. On a slower news day, you may be pleasantly surprised to find your story featured, so keep sending your news.
Since all your news releases will be referring back to your website, be sure to keep your pages updated. If you need a better blogging or event tool, contact us to learn about some terrific options. You know we’re always happy to help!