Why One Press Release Is Not Enough. And What You Can Do Instead
PR is often a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. For small businesses it can seem time-consuming, expensive, and you’re not even sure if it works. Usually, there are more pressing things to do.
Then there’s a big win for the company. You land a prestigious client, get investment, have a brand new product or are shortlisted for an industry award. Suddenly you have something you want to tell the world about. So you ask around for a freelancer or small agency and tell them you need a press release.
The PR, however, is less than enthusiastic. Why? Because it’s probably not news. Apple Buys Microsoft is news. Consultancy Launches AI+ Portfolio of Solutions is often not. As one former Editor used to say; “That’s not news, it’s a company announcement”. To be fair, he did then create a section called ‘Company Announcements’ just for non-news.
One press release is like opening the door of a busy bar, yelling your news from the threshold and then leaving. One or two people may turn round and look, but you won’t have an effect.
The PR also knows the effort for one release could sustain an entire campaign. Even if the release IS news, for it to be successful you still have to do all the prelim work of a longer programme. It’s better bang for your buck to create a campaign, which may include a release, but achieves momentum with regular content like case studies, opinion pieces, blogs, and news.
Your one-off release won’t work because:
• You don’t know if this is the right audience
• Your news isn’t that interesting to them
• You don’t follow-up
A good PR team will find the right audience, present them with the right news repeatedly and follow-up to secure the effect. But this can be expensive and time-consuming for a start-up.
So what could you do instead of a press release?
If you just want to announce your news, try your owned outlets like Linked In and the website. Write up your announcement in 300 words and post it on the CEOs LinkedIn profile, or on the company blog. Then share the link with a line or two. This gets it to people who are interested. It could even remind them to drop you a line about a new project (isn’t that how LinkedIn’s supposed to work?).
You can also take a step back from the immediate news and think about how it could fit in to a wider PR campaign. You could start by thinking about these four questions:
• What do you want to achieve? Attract investment, drive sales, appeal to talent, promote a new product or service, raise the profile of the CEO, something else?
• What have you got to say? What’s topical in the industry and what could you say about it? What would interest the industry about your AI+ Portfolio?
• Who wants to hear it? We think about your audience and what they want to know. What can companies learn from your experience?
• How shall we say it? Where is the best place to tell your story to reach your audience? This is often a combination of mainstream or social media, speaking at events, sales collateral, case studies, blogs, postcards…
Answering these questions will help to produce a campaign that fits with your budget and available time too.
One press release isn’t enough; you need a campaign. But a few strategically placed news or opinion pieces, could kick start your PR.
Or find a good PR agency. They will help you through this process before deciding on the right elements for the campaign. So you can tell the world about your successes in a way that has an effect.
That said, if you still just want a press release, drop Kate a line and she’ll send you our template.