Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category
It’s not enough to simply push your news out. Don’t get me wrong, that part is critical, and requires a tremendous amount of hard work and smart messaging. As the nature of the news media changes though, it’s becoming increasingly important to pull audiences in by making news findable.
Three factors are driving this trend toward pull:
- The first source is often the cited source. With rare exception (particularly in technology media), gone are the days when reporters spend days and weeks finding sources and information for their stories. Reporters and bloggers are often under the gun to publish 10 stories a day. Accordingly, the time spent sourcing material for those stories has shrunk. It’s more like minutes, maybe hours on a good day. You need to be there first and often.
According to The Pew State of News Media 2013 Report, there was a 3.6 to 1 ratio of PR people to journalists in 2008 (up from 1.2 to 1 in 1980). I am not surprised. InkHouse grew 45 percent last year, and we’re on course to do the same or more in 2013. Why this growing gap? In short, the news media’s business model is in painful flux. As the Pew notes, “newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978.”
The opportunity for PR is growing as we see new ways to engage with audiences directly and plentiful opportunities for content. Is the news business going away? Absolutely not. It’s changing.
In a random act of Googling last night, I was searching on PR firms and I stumbled on a bunch of Quora and Google+ discussions where entrepreneurs were asking a simple question: how do I choose a PR firm? The answers to these questions were many, all with the same common theme largely from journalists — you can do PR yourself. Forget the agency. Just get to know the press you need and reach out yourself. This argument is not new to me or to the PR community. But we often just sit back and let journalists air their grievances with PR firms — after all, journalists are our clients too. It will come as no surprise that I am on the other side of this argument in most cases (although not always). But for good reasons.
Last month, as I was trawling Twitter, I experienced one of those moments of truth that often lead to a blog post. “Stop the Madness! Why do we spam the crap out of each other #CRE?” It was an excellent question from @TenantAdvisor. His screenshot (above) showed a whole bunch of emails from the real estate world; no doubt property listings or announcements about recent transactions.
This is especially true in the brokerage community, where deal flow means everything, competition is fierce, and an old-school approach to marketing is pervasive. But when everyone else is doing lead generation the same way, namely by email and even cold calls or printed fliers, it is simply not effective, as I explained in a previous post.
At a time in America’s history when the threat of war was pervasive and the future unclear, President John F. Kennedy stood in front of the nation and delivered his now infamous inaugural speech where he requested of citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” That request came after the newly elected president painted a picture of the grave situation facing the country, and the need to band together with allies, and against enemies.
Fast forward 52 years to a more recent example of a request to band together – albeit not nearly as grave, but a request nonetheless. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! has recently asked that all “Yahoos” return to the office, banning the flexible work-from-home environment in place at the company today. The request came in a 246-word memo emailed to employees from the HR department.
The press release is a lost art. Perhaps more importantly, in many situations it has become a communications tool that reporters regularly (and often willfully) ignore. Yet, PR people diligently continue writing them, and issuing them.
I studied PR at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, which is a journalism school, and as such, focused heavily on the tenets of journalism. We learned that a press release should be designed as a news story. The goal was to produce a news story worthy of publication in a newspaper.
One of my colleagues likes to say that the euphoria one experiences during a highly successful PR launch, is like being a kid on Christmas morning. There are very few things that make us jump up and down with the same enthusiasm as, say, a child who gets a puppy from Santa. But for public relations professionals, a top-tier media hit that delights a client is one of those things. Launching a successful social media campaign is one of those things. Landing a speaking engagement at a key conference is one of those things. Yet as any elf knows, a whole lot of effort goes in to making the holidays bright. Our office equivalent is the strategic planning that goes in to creating success in the year ahead.
Why should people care about your viewpoint? This is the question that PR must answer before embarking on any campaign.
Last week, I had the opportunity to blog about three of the core areas shaping PR for PR Week. The first was thought leadership – it’s more than having a unique point of view. Yes, it must be unique, but it also must be rooted in authority and tie back to your organization’s objectives. As I wrote, “Done properly, thought leadership stimulates demand for companies’ products and services by teaching the industry about what is needed and what the future will require.”