Releases Don’t Work Anymore
association still be issuing press releases to get coverage for its
achievements, events, and other news? Here’s an idea that is much more likely
to get the results you’re searching for.
Press releases just
aren’t effective anymore at getting the quality and quantity of publicity your
association needs. Why?
- The traditional
media all have websites — 24/7 news outlets that constantly require fresh, new,
high-quality content to attract visitors. Online staff trying to "feed the
beast” are far more likely to post a well-written, newsworthy article than an
announcement about an association milestone, new product or event, or change in
media staffs have been dwindling for years. The number of newspaper journalists
alone has dropped more than 30 percent since 2000, according to the Pew
Research Center. Smaller staffs mean less time for turning conventional press
releases into interesting articles and posts.
- Today, anyone can
publish and broadcast via the web. Before the Internet, we relied solely on
traditional media to publish or broadcast the news. Conventional press releases
were our private plea to them. While that doesn’t diminish the value of
newspapers, TV, and radio — they still have clout, credibility and large
audiences — it does change how we communicate with them.
Instead, try to
make it as easy as possible for journalists to use your content — and you can
begin by writing newsworthy articles in a ready-to-publish format.
So, what can
you do to get publicity for your association or organization?
about what would make that news item interesting to someone who’s never heard
of you or your association.
- Does your new
product address a problem that a lot of people share? Can you cite documented
statistics or studies that reveal the breadth of the problem and/or its
consequences? Can you share tips for dealing with the problem?
- If your organization
is celebrating a milestone, such as 50 years in business, can you offer
insights into how your industry has changed in those five decades and what
those changes have meant to members and/or consumers? Can you offer them a
glimpse of what your industry may offer them in the future?
- If you’re
celebrating an award, others will appreciate learning from your success. What
steps did you take? What lessons did you learn?
answers to write a short, objective news story – one that doesn’t include
subjective adjectives, like "wonderful new product” or "innovative,
Also, work in
advance — it’s better to send your pitch to media outlets before your news is
old news. But before you do, do your homework.
yourself with the publications or sites you’re pitching. Don’t waste your time
by sending them a pitch on a topic they have no interest in.
- Search the
publication or website for deadline information and policies for submitting
- Grab them with
your email’s subject line. If it doesn’t catch their interest, or it looks like
a sales pitch, they won’t open it. Keep your subject line limited to five to
eight words or about 40 characters.
If you’ve been
sending out press releases and getting no response, it’s time to try giving the
media what they want: Valuable information shared in a way they can easily use.
You’ll get publicity that showcases your association as the authority in its
field and the implied endorsement of journalists, bloggers, and other media.
They may even
appreciate your contributions so much they’ll come running back for more.
Marsha Friedman is
the founder of pay-for-performance public relations firm EMS Incorporated.