Not just for news coverage today
A primary goal of public relations programs is getting media coverage for companies. A traditional tool includes news releases as part of a larger program. News releases alone issued on newswires won’t necessarily generate feature media coverage, but it will start to move your organization closer to getting noticed and provide tools to begin a richer dialog with media. You might even fall into some coverage along the way. Whether your company is public or private, below are five reasons why you should issue news releases.
1.Say Something and Put a Stake in the Ground
If you think some things from your organization aren’t necessary “newsworthy” – you might be right. While it won’t result in coverage in the Wall Street Journal or your target media, the announcement is still important to someone. At a minimum it gives your prospects, customers, partners and employees and other proponents a clear sign that the organization is moving forward. Along with social media, a news release is often the only visibility someone has into your company. Putting it in a news release makes it official, on the record and let’s people know your company is alive and well.
2. Create a Growing History
Your company and product might be just starting out or has been in business for decades. But either way, one year from now when someone is researching your company to buy your products or services (or company!), issuing news announcements gives them a track record of what you have done. People look on your website for news about you. Determine a strategy for how consistent you want to make news announcements over the next year and stick to it. Plan the mix of the type of announcements (product, company, partner, customer, etc.) and pace them so you have a steady stream for anyone looking at a snapshot of the company at any given point in time. As a general rule, a company should have at least one announcement per month and a product should have something to announce at least once a quarter.
3. Use News Releases as a Tool for Momentum
A news release is a piece of communications collateral about your company, products or services. Similar to a data sheet or product guide that doesn’t appeal to every prospect, not all news releases appeal to all media. Be sensitive to this and don’t assume that all media are going to care about everything you have to announce. For a core set of media in your industry, they might want every snippet of news and using this communications tool is great. As outlined above, a news announcement makes it “official”. Communications professionals can also use the news release as key reason to contact media, follow up with them about a particular story and demonstrate the momentum of your company and product.
4. Take Advantage of Web 2.0 Functionality and Search Engine Optimization
Getting feature media coverage isn’t achieved by sending news releases over newswires services. However, there is definitely reasons to use wire services. First, with the ability to include keywords, tags and links to various locations on your website, news releases can augment your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Your news will appear on sites such as Yahoo! News, Google News and with other popular search engines. Second, the Web 2.0 features and functionality of some wire services allow you to bundle a complete rich media kit and resources with each news release. This includes the ability to include image files, videos, and webcasts. The resource can be standalone with each release and allow for people to subscribe to RSS. This is particularly important to increase coverage with some emerging media channels, blogs and syndications.
5. Clarify Your Business, Partnerships and Strategies
The simple exercise of drafting a news release and ushering it through approvals helps get everyone on the same page and brings lingering issues to a head. For example, working through a partnership announcement you will quickly find out how strong your partnerships are or are not. Putting it in print makes it real and gets people to focus.