If you want to start a ruckus, just say press releases are dead in a room full of marketers. It is a debate that has been raging since the dawn of time and we’ve heard people sounding the death knell of PR more times than we can count. After all, they say we live in an age where media is fractured between many sources and you can gain any information you want in an instant, so certainly the press release is a tired, worn out, obsolete relic of the past, right?
Wrong — dead wrong.
The truth is, the world of public relations changes, as do the tools and how we use them. It was not long ago, at the advent of the Internet, when people were addicted to press releases in the way Millennials are addicted to their smartphones, and would distribute horrifically amateur, link-stuffed, SEO-saturated press releases through every source possible. Those days are gone, and we are all much better for it.
The press release, however, is far from dead. It has just evolved. Even better for the security dealer, integrator and manufacturer, it has evolved in some highly beneficial ways that make them even more valuable — once you understand a few key principles.
Forget the stodgy acronym-filled press releases of the past. Today you need to think in terms of shareability. A great press release starts with a great story. It is not just that you won a cool product award, it’s that the product meets an incredible need. It is not just that you are introducing a new service, it is also about how that service impacts the readership. The story needs to have a great headline, grab attention quickly and be written as concisely as possible. To make it even more appealing to news outlets, it needs to be written in a way that includes clips, or short entertaining quotes, for call-out boxes.
It is also important to avoid being overtly salesy. Once you cross over to an advertisement, no media outlet will pick it up. Trust a well-crafted press release to do its job and you can always support it with other types of marketing.
Getting media attention is a primary objective of a press release, but it should not be the main objective. Let us explain: You can have worthy news that is not necessarily “newsworthy,” and that does not have to at all hinder the ultimate effectiveness of your press release.
Today, all media exists in a hyper-targeted digital reality where the consumer is choosing precisely what media they want to access and when. This is great news for the press release. By nature, a press release is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and the public, which should be a targeted audience. The ultimate purpose (in most cases) is to boost credibility and recognition in order to boost sales. While it is incredibly helpful to have media pick up your story, it is absolutely not necessary to accomplish this ultimate goal.
Certainly, if you have a newsworthy achievement that is of interest to the industry, the goal should be to get it into a security industry news outlet or publication. Doing so will establish you as a thought leader within the industry. However, even if your news is not picked up by an outlet, you can still gain tremendous value in added professionalism and recognition by placing it on your website and distributing it via social media and your targeted email list.
Industry Publications Love Well Crafted Press Releases
A professional press release tells a story in a compelling way and is packaged for fast, easy publication. In many cases, publications will use them verbatim because they make interesting filler pieces. Sometimes, the information will spark an idea and compel the publication to use it as the foundation for a featured article.
Ultimately, how the public consumes media has changed, so how we use the press release must also change. If you make your press release relevant, insightful and informative, you can use it in a multifaceted marketing approach that will serve your business in remarkable ways.