Why Your PR Strategy May be “Crying Wolf”
(As originally written for and published on NBCChicago.com's Inc. Well)
Most companies understand the power of a press release as a tool in their PR campaign toolbox to deliver news and information to media. The problem is most don’t understand how to use a press release effectively, especially today.
We hear it all the time, “we’d like you to send out at least one press release per month as part of the strategy.” That’s great and happy to do it, but is there enough news to really support sending out so often?
Great PR is achieved when you have a great story to tell. Your story is all that matters.
I believe that this idea of how to use press releases comes from the days when it could actually be an effective method, even if they were just glanced at and put to the side. There was a sense of branding with the media; a way for them to become familiar with your company. However, in today’s world those press releases often end up in the trash or worse the sender is considered a spammer and their email address is blocked.
It’s the classic “Crying Wolf” scenario: you think it’s a good idea to just bombard media non-stop with messages and press releases, hoping to create awareness with them, only to find that when you really have something important and newsworthy, no one is listening and no one cares.
Today’s press release is a great tool for online distribution and to boost search, but it’s the boots on the ground engaging with media directly and crafting custom stories for each that makes the difference. And that is when there is a real newsworthy story to tell.
It’s important to note that today’s media professionals are busier than ever and, at the same time, there are more public relations professionals targeting them day in and day out. Sometimes they receive thousands of email pitches in a week – some are not relevant to their beat and others don’t have an interesting news story angle. As one editor told me, he only sees a handful of good pitches but it takes hours to sift through email to find them. So, it’s easy to see why media may become frustrated.
Sending out a press release for the sake of sending out a press release is never a good tactical part of your overall strategy. Honestly, it’s a waste of your time, energy and money. Less is more, the saying goes, so invest in what is truly newsworthy about your business and deserves a push to media; something that is sure to be meaningful to all of your audiences and grab media attention. Those three to five big story angles per year with a great headline and meaningful information for their readers.
If your goal is to build relationships with the media, this is one of the best ways to do it. Trust me, they remember people who give them not just good, but great, stories and interviews. They will remember you and be more likely to open the next email pitch you send.
Even in 2023, this is a strategy that we hear companies want regularly. It just doesn't work and our job is to consult our clients on what is newsworthy, what we should spend our time and their money on and what really matters.
If you still desire to write and present press releases for company announcements and such, I recommend you post them in you online press room, and, if you can afford it, use distributions like PRWeb to help boost, what I call "your search and find".
Remember, constantly sending out press releases may get you remembered by media, but not in the positive way you might have hoped. In fact, no news press releases not only go in the trash but reduce your credibility with media.