Not all press releases will become stories. No matter how well written or how many hours you put into it, sometimes it really just isn’t news.
In fact, many press releases fail to garner any media coverage whatsoever. Talk to a busy reporter or editor today about the number of press releases they receive on a daily basis which do not convey any actual reportable news and it becomes clear that this is an all too common occurrence in today’s saturated public relations world.
Sadly, I think much of this problem lies with a fundamental misunderstanding of PR – what we do and how we do it best. Clients are naturally enthusiastic about all company developments, projects, case studies and new hires. And they want to gain the best exposure from each announcement and to make sure it reaches the right audience. But while the press release is a great tool for conveying news, it is not always the best tool for all types of internal announcements.
One size does not fit all
But when should internal news be relayed by press release and when should we consider some alternatives? Let’s begin by thinking about these three key points:
Who really needs to know? Not all announcements are likely to have much of an impact to anyone outside of your client’s organisation. Take new hires, for example. A new CEO is almost always newsworthy and many in that industry will want, and need, to know. Less senior hires are less likely to be of interest to a news outlet but will still have an impact internally.
What would the headline be? If you want it to be news you should be able to picture it easily as a news story. Try writing it as a headline and see how much impact it has. And try to consider all potential angles. ‘Widget Company Moves Office’ is likely to fall flat whereas ‘Widget Company Expands into Asia’ is a story worth telling. But be careful of putting too much of a spin on the story or trying to tenuously tie it in to a newsworthy item – is it really driven by Brexit or are you just trying too hard?
Who would cover it? A simple yet often overlooked way to check if an item is actually newsworthy is to see how much coverage similar announcements get. If you are struggling to find news coverage of company case studies in IT, then it may just be that news outlets are not the right target audience for that type of announcement.
So, all things considered a press release is not the right choice for your news? The good news is that there are other more appropriate media to consider. Time to think outside the box:
Once created they are often forgotten about, but this should not be the case. It’s often the main web presence of your company and should be treated as such. Internal announcements can be posted here but why stop at that? Your office move announcement may make a great blog post, or perhaps you could create a video showing the new location, space and facilities? It not only keeps the site fresh and relevant but helps to show that your client is not just a faceless corporation.
Twitter is a great place for sharing company news as it often reaches a wider audience than news items while allowing for direct interaction with clients, or even prospective clients. LinkedIn posts are also an effective way of conveying corporate information, while Facebook is perfect for promoting and posting news about upcoming events.
Is there an angle to your announcement that could be useful to a wider audience? The new office announcement may not have a newsworthy angle but lots of firms have, and will need to, go through a similar move in the future. Your company’s experience will prove valuable to many in the market and a thought leadership piece could potentially generate more coverage than a small news-in-brief item ever could.
Image attributed to Jon S