I’ve heard it time and time again: the press release is no longer relevant. Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you that the press releases are not only relevant, but the results they generate makes them a must-have in today’s fast-changing PR landscape. The elements of a successful press release, however, have evolved into a very different scope than what you may have experienced in the past.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, let me compare the modern press release to Frankenstein – a kind of beast comprised of parts coming from a variety of sources. The highly successful ‘Frankenstein’ press release takes its cues from marketing, advertising, PR, sales, and even SEO. When elements from these various fields are combined and subsequently electrified using the Wire, the resulting press release can accomplish a number of goals for companies of all types and sizes.
Here are six ‘Franken-esque’ ways to make today’s press release distribution via the Wire monstrously effective for your company:
- Increase engagement with multimedia: Multimedia press releases are certainly nothing new, but the importance of including some type of visual asset has skyrocketed. It’s no secret that newsrooms staffs are shrinking and journalists are left with much more work to complete in much less time. In fact, Business Wire’s recent media survey proves that 73% of journalists want a photo in addition to a plain-text press release. This means that PR and communications professionals must provide the most complete package possible to appeal to the time-strapped media. Just like an increased impact when multimedia is included in social messages, you significantly increase your chances of securing media coverage if you include a multimedia element that tells your story for you.
Some examples of multimedia assets can include executive headshots, product photos, infographics, product demo videos, white papers, FAQ sheets, screen shots, and sound bites. Distributing these multimedia assets across a wire service (like Business Wire) will land them squarely in the laps of those you are targeting most.
- Making Sense of Data: Every company generates data – yes, EVERY company. Whether it is customer demographics, purchasing patterns or results from a survey, data is one of the greatest tools a company has at its disposal. Some of the data you will want to keep proprietary, but other pieces can be repackaged into mentally appealing forms to position yourself as a thought leader.
Infographics, as mentioned above, are a fantastic way to present data in a fun and easy-to-digest form. A graphic designer can easily put together an infographic based on data sets, but if you don’t have one of these at your disposal, I recommend Piktochart, Visual.ly or even Canva for you more creative types.
You can also compile your data into a white paper, FAQ sheet or informational video. Once you have chosen the vehicle to share your data (wire service, social media, email), the possibilities are numerous as to presentation styles.
- Showcase Your Thought Leadership: Chances are you have some pretty smart people working at your company or organization. And chances are even better that these smart people have some pretty smart thoughts in regards to your industry. So, your job as the PR person is to wrangle these thoughts and corral them into the pen that is your press release and other marketing content. Thought leadership can be presented through webinars, blog posts, infographics, social media posts and more.
New ideas attract attention. Attention brings interest in your company and products. Interest in your company and products can lead to sales. More sales lead to happy CEOs, happy bosses and happy employees. Thought leadership positions your company at the top of your industry while driving traffic to your website or other owned platforms.
- Jumpstart the Social Media Conversation: Social media has gone from a trend to a mainstay and will likely grow well beyond what it is now. Whenever anything happens in the world, chances are pretty high that you will be able to find at least a few people talking about it on social media. Because personal interests and opinions vary, each person’s social presence is unique and therefore, the news they share about your brand becomes more impactful as it includes their own unique opinions. Whether you know it or not, there are people whose Twitter feeds are full of tweets about your industry. Why be absent from the conversation?
Encouraging readers to share your press releases on social media not only enters you into the conversation, but also provides more opportunities for brand discovery. One of the easiest and most effective way of motivating readers to share your release is to insert an easy call to action via ClickToTweet, which allows you to provide fully-approved corporate language for readers to share across their respective social channels. Users simply click the included link and your pre-crafted message is shared instantly.
Business Wire allows you to include free links and anchor text within your press release and then sends those links downstream to qualified media, social channels, digital media sites and more. Doing so increases the chances that your content (and links) will be discovered and acted on.
- Increasing awareness of sales promotions/contests: Press releases are a great opportunity to raise awareness of current sales promotions going on within your company. From social media or traditional giveaway contests to seasonal pricing specials, pushing sales messages via press releases can provide the visibility to make your program incredibly effective, especially if the prize is unique or life-changing.
Press releases also allow for more lengthy language, including promotional legal details that can be rushed and garbled in traditional advertising. As non-sexy as this language is, omitting terms and conditions could have damaging implications for your company.
- Driving traffic to owned content and marketing channels: The best place to promote your business is anywhere you can control the message. Press releases are read by brand fans, so give them a place to go. If you have internal marketing programs such as a newsletter that generates higher conversion rates, include links to join these programs right in your press release. Plus, including links within your press releases can send qualified leads to platforms where your content is exclusive. However, getting consumers to browse your website is only half the battle. Effectively designing your webpages for easy navigation and organic discovery needs to be done before driving traffic to your page.
Not only do you want your current and potential customers visiting your website, blog, and social media channels, but you also should focus on pointing media professionals to your online newsroom and, if relevant, online investor relations center. The previously mentioned Business Wire survey highlights company websites and online newsrooms as the two most used sources for media research (92% and 77%, respectively). The importance of having an informative and easy-to-navigate website has never been more apparent.
What other ways do you use Franken-press releases? Let me know at @the_erica_hour.
Erica Schuckies is an account executive for Business Wire, located in their Austin office. She works with both private and public companies, as well as Public Relations and Investor Relations firms, to distribute their messages to key stakeholders across the globe. She has a background in Public Relations and Marketing Communications, as well as experience in the non-profit and sports/events sectors. Erica is a board member for the Public Relations Society of America Austin Chapter, as well as a regular attendee of PR Over Coffee.