The Dying Art of the Press Release

Posted by Sandra Palmer on October 27, 2016 at 8:00 AM
Newspaper

Is your press release not getting the traction you hoped? Here’s how to write one in the digital age.

People don’t consume information like they used to, and Public Relations (PR) needs to catch up.

Like pretty much everything else, PR has gone through a massive transition since the advent and popularity of digital. Before, press releases meant that a long-winded piece of writing was sent out to the masses, encapsulating the ‘spray and pray’ approach. Very often these were accompanied by a press conference and events to promote whatever the business was boasting about at the time.

 

Today, Public Relations, and the press release in particular, can be extremely powerful if used correctly - but it can also be very detrimental to a brand’s reputation if not managed correctly.  

The irritation

The press release has naturally gone from a printed document to a digitally transferred file - usually via email. And while this means you can bomb off good news to your database at any time, you need to make sure you aren’t spamming people with irritating, boastful junk mail. People receive tons of emails a day, some solicited, but many are unsolicited and boring. Don’t land up in the trash before you’ve even had a chance to get the attention you deserve! Say what you need to say and keep it short and sweet - remember people skim online.  Long-winded mails and articles are a sure-fire way to irritate people from the get-go.

Draw attention to your very newsworthy news

Start your press release with a strong angle aimed at your audience: why do they care about your latest update? Keep it short and sweet: you no longer have to draw up reams and reams of words to get your point across. You now have the option to make use of imagery, infographics and vlogs (video blogs) as well as many other interesting mediums to tell your story. People respond strongly to images, and most journalists are looking for a visual element to add to a story, so make sure to include a Dropbox link or low res visuals with your press release. Another great platform to write your press releases on, is a blog. Many brands and businesses have swapped out the old method of printed or emailed communication for a blog which is super easy to access and update; just remember to distribute your content.

Optimise your presence

Having this incredible digital presence means nothing if you don’t optimise yourself properly, and by that we mean making yourself “findable”. Optimise your website’s SEO, as well as your blog. Ensure it’s responsive, browser compliant and performs at its optimum levels.

Make use of the right influencers and digital platforms

A lot of brands and businesses are using local influencers to spread the word about their products and/or services. It’s important not to pick just any random person with a huge following to be the mouthpiece for your business. The influencer you choose must always reflect the same ethics and morals of your business. Likewise, it also doesn’t help to have great content… and serve it to the wrong audience in the wrong medium.

Testing, testing!

The beauty of the social and digital world is the results you have at your fingertips almost instantly. You are able to test different kinds of formats and elements to see which your target market engages with the best. If your market prefers to see more visual content and less copy, you’ll be able to judge by the engagement received by mail, social media and responses.

The art of the digital press release can be put down to how creative, engaging and interesting your news is. Where you are sharing this news, by whom and with whom are also important.

To check whether your website is optimised to its optimum, grade your website here:

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Topics: Media

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