In the first post of this series, I asked for your help in laying the press release to rest – as it exists today. Unfortunately, today’s release has evolved into a collection of posturing, hyperbole, and canned quotes that have very little impact on the ability to generate significant news coverage.
One of the most important takeaways of the last article was that a significant percentage of customers are reading press releases directly through search engines as well as Google and Yahoo news.
Wire services have opened up the door for company information to reach not only media, but also people directly through search and aggregated news platforms. Blog platforms have created a new channel for that same information to also reach customers through blog search engines and ultimately other blogs that may also link to the content. And, social networks have made it possible for information to be shared directly with peers in the communities where they go to discover and share news and relevant data.
If you really stop and think about it, press releases nowadays can tell a story in so many ways to so many different people. Traditional press and analysts are now only part of the equation, and depending on the industry, it may very well be only 25-50% of total readers, and in some cases it’s only 10%.
People are now relying on news releases as a direct source of information, so let’s take this opportunity to tell the story that matters to them. It’s about deconstructing 100 years of tradition and rebuilding something that actually works in today’s attention economy.
Who ever said that we only need one press release?
If it’s anything we should have learned from the eye opener (or more accurately the rude awakening) that is Social Media, there is no longer an audience for our messages. Markets are comprised of groups of disparate (The Long Tail), yet connected people who look for value and benefits in different ways. Therefore, a good story requires personalization. Oh, and journalists and analysts are people too, so if we humanize the process of writing releases, we might enhance the ability for readers to connect with the information.
At this point, there’s no need to debate over the value of search engine (SEO), social media (SMO) optimized or new media press releases. Let’s just write the stories we want our customers, media and bloggers to see, using the tools and channels that will reach and help them most effectively. And, this can also include company blog posts!
When it comes to evaluating release formats and the process of drafting a release, we first need to hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete to reboot how we approach a blank .doc file to prevent the usual spewing of BS onto a blank slate.
As I’ve said earlier, one press release no longer cuts it (I repeat, there is no longer one audience for a press release), marketing and hype are out, and transparency has cut the reins of message control.
Step back and approach it with a fresh perspective. Create a release that provides a story for those seeking information as well as the building blocks that will also help a reporter or blogger write a better article/post.
Here’s an example:
I can assure you, contrary to executive belief, adding spin to press releases as a method for instilling enthusiasm and demonstrating leadership to readers is ineffective, a turn-off and, it may actually incite backlash and public ridicule.
At the end of the day, press releases are about people and therefore should be written as if you were trying to help or inform them, not sell them.
Next up: Examining the differences between traditional, SEO, Social Media, new media, and blog posts.