Let me know if the following situation sounds familiar: You pen a press release, send it to a lengthy list of writers and journalists, and wait to see if anyone nibbles on the bait. No one does, and your press release fails to deliver important information to possible consumers.
Unfortunately, this occurs to too many public relations professionals.
Don’t get me wrong. Press releases are an old, solid custom in the Public Relations field, and they have their uses even despite the rapidly changing times. We write press releases to catch the attention of journalists, magazine editors, feature writers and other prominent content creators; to provide them with all of the information they need in one easy document; and to convince them to write about the product we’re selling or representing. This way, we generate buzz and, hopefully, drive to a specific goal like a rise in sales. But the sad news is that press releases can turn into a big waste of time if you’re not using this correctly.
That’s why I advocate for a better way.
Sending out press releases—the effective way
First, you need to find publications that make sense for your product or service.
If you manufacture cutting-edge construction tools, for example, you won’t want to send your press release to a cooking magazine. It’s important to get your information in front of writers who are likely to be interested—with the goal to get your information in front of readers who are likely to become consumers. So throw out that long list of media contacts and create a smaller, more targeted one. That’s less work for you, but with a higher chance of success.
Once you find the right publications, it’s important to establish personal relationships with key writers within those organizations. Read articles by staff writers to find who would be most interested in your information. Then try to build an authentic relationship with those writers. Give them a call or an email to introduce yourself. If they have a local office, perhaps you can even meet in person (although be sure not to appear pushy).