The press release is not over-hyped. It’s not unimportant. It’s still very relevant. However, the year is 2020, and the press release that your parents wrote has, well, expired.
Back in the day, companies would issue press releases for product releases, key hires, corporate events or just to respond to something in the news. Many companies still do this. They use wire services as distribution vehicles. They employ public relations experts to craft the perfect wording. If you’re a big brand, maybe that’s still relevant. And besides, you can afford it. But for most small businesses, this type of news sharing is expensive and not really needed. Yes, you should be telling the world what’s going on in your company (assuming it’s newsworthy and interesting). But a press release isn’t how you should do it.
Besides Small Biz Ahead, I frequently write for many well-known publishing platforms. As a journalist, I’m always on the lookout for publicly disseminated news and stories. But here’s the thing: as long as I can get that information from a genuine resource, then it doesn’t have to be in the form of an official press release. Frankly, it can just be a blog on a company’s website.
Yes, a blog. Don’t write a press release. Write a blog instead.
Think of your company’s blog as your own news service. It’s no more subjective than a release written by your marketing person (or you) and published on a news wire. And, you have more freedom when you write a blog. You can put things into your own words and make it more engaging. You don’t have to feel that it’s necessary to conform to some decades-old rules of writing a press release. The whole point of a press release is to get information out to the media. As a media-person, I prefer getting that information in a more narrative format, with quotes and examples that I can use in my story.
Because you’re no longer constrained by the age-old format of the press release, you can do lots more things with your information when that information is appearing on your blog. You can include videos, photos and graphics. You can add in testimonials, longer quotes and even more engaging stories. And when you publish this information as a blog entry, you can open it up for comments from your community to learn how they feel about the news. By the way, search engines like Google love blogs when they optimize results, so writing a blog instead of a press release will better help your business show up when people are searching for it.
But doesn’t a press release over a newswire service reach more people? Yes. But does that matter? Are these the people you really want to reach? Do you want your information jumbled in with hundreds of other similar news releases in a giant email that goes out twice a day? No.
In fact, you should have your own media list. Hire someone to compile it from public resources. It can be very targeted to the eyeballs you want to make sure see your news. Then when you have news, you can send out an announcement via an email or on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook with a link directing the recipient back to the full story on your blog. That way you’re targeting the people who really care and not paying to distribute your information to a bunch of people who don’t.
So don’t sweat a press release. Don’t feel like you have some need to be regularly issuing one. Don’t pay an expensive wire service. It’s probably not worth it. Instead, share your news on your blog and then direct your target audience right to it.
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