The next evolution of public relations is going to be based on analytics and big data, which means the press release is getting a newly elevated place in the campaign mix. So, whether you are talking your boss off the press release editorial cliff or pulling the data from your most recent earned media campaign, check out the truths and myths of where we see the modern press release heading.
MYTH: Press Releases Drive Coverage
A press release is a document; not a pitch.
...and one with a very specific formula intending to get news in the hands of the media. The intent of the press release is about narrative, not news creation. So, it’s what is done next that drives the coverage. Whether on the wire or simply on a company’s blog, PR practitioners drive coverage. The press release is just one step in the opportunity to create earned media impact.
TRUTH: Press Release Intent Remains Consistent
The original intent of the press release still holds true today - control the narrative.
The most important intangible of public relations is the aspect of storytelling and that is not going away. A good press release creates a timeline of an organization’s history and indicates momentum.
Practitioners don’t “create news”, journalists do. PR pros provide the interesting details, headline making facts, and concrete stats to build on the narrative the press release is meant to create.
MYTH: Press Releases are the First Step
Dear executives - before you drive your PR team to pull their own hair out, remember that the press release is a side dish to all the intense hard work they have and are about to do. Press releases are never the first step.
We’ve all heard the stat on how one journalist ignored 95% of the press releases coming through his inbox, but that’s because so many were a ‘first touch’ cold solicitation. That’s amateur stuff. If your PR is worth a damn, and you hired them so they are, then give them your time, the time they need to build out a thoughtful campaign leveraging your wisdom.
So yes, scrutinize the grammar in the press release but realize that is not the first step in a PR practitioner’s plan. The modern PR pro cares more about the effect of their efforts, the data, the bottom-line impact, than to whether or not your quote is too far down the page.
TRUTH: Press Releases are One Piece
….of the larger campaign! And I’m not just talking about public relations’ campaigns. I’m talking about product launches, hiring pushes, philanthropic events. If the PR team is getting information just in time to write a press release, then the company’s process is broken.
The C-suite controls the PR budget (the budget decision maker in 60% of PR teams), so PR practitioners need to be providing consultative information to the executive team at the beginning of a campaign, or even before a campaign is even considered.
MYTH: Press Releases are SEO Juice
Press releases became very popular, and effective, as a search engine optimization tool. Keyword stuffed and overly anchor-linked press releases could drive search ranking even if they were never picked up by a single media outlet. But alas, Google caught on to this search hack and rendered it essentially useless.
The real SEO impact comes from earned media mentions (and keeping mentions evergreen). Don’t let the marketing team forget, between 25% and 40% of website traffic and lead generation comes from earned media!
TRUTH: Press Releases are in Transformation
The perfect storm of technological, social, and economic factors signal the digital transformation of public relations, with press releases at the forefront. What was once an upload to the wire is now a much greater experience. With the new partnership between TrendKite and Business Wire, clients will be able to take advantage of the TrendKite Intelligent Communications Platform to measure the effectiveness of their press releases and public relations campaigns, while also identifying and targeting key journalists and influencers to pitch.
The next evolution of public relations is going to be based on analytics and big data, rather than legacy tasks. The new reality will allow targeting based on what journalists and influencers are actually writing about, rather than based on static filters and categories. The new alternative will enable an understanding of which journalists and influencers have the most impact on specific topics and stories, based on metrics like article impact, SEO impact, social amplification, and other criteria. And the new alternative will be equipped with the tools to radically increase the relevancy of pitches with outreach that is personalized, and highly relevant to the targeted journalists. In turn, increasing response rates and earned media hits.
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