By Jennifer Goddard Combs
Those who have worked in publicity, marketing and the media for many years know that while the medium and the messages may change over time, one thing that has remained a constant - from the print era into the digital age – is the value of a press release.
A well-written press release remains an important publicity tool, even in the digital age. Here’s why:
It all starts with the basic information: What’s your news? A press release showcases what’s new at your company: your new service, your latest hire, your new product or your latest award - whatever you want to tell the public, business community, specific industry or targeted audience. You need to put it down, in writing, so others will know who you are, what you offer, what your news is, and how to contact you. Gathering the information and writing a press release is the starting point.
What’s in your press release? A solid press release should have a catchy headline, state your news, include a quote from someone important such as the company president, and include contact information for a source that can provide more information. This contact person’s phone number and email also should be provided on the release. In addition, it helps to provide a website link and a professional image if possible, and if it’s for the Web, maybe a video or multiple images. For instance, if the release is announcing a new hire, a nice color headshot of the new employee in a jpeg format will help get attention.
How is a press release used? In the old days when newspapers and magazines and other print publications were the only media in town, a press release would be sent to the newspaper either by snail mail, fax or later, email. Today, press releases are sent mostly via email to a host of places, including newspapers, newsletters, businesses, city and other government officials, local business organizations, online news providers, television networks, industry trade publications in print and online, and news or talk radio stations. You can target your audience as well to reach a niche of customers.
Press releases in the digital age: Press releases can be posted on a company’s social media pages (such as Facebook) and cut down to 140 characters or less and sent out as a Tweet on Twitter. You can use it on LinkedIn as a news update and you can include the news from the release in your company newsletter or e-newsletter. In addition, you can post it to your website to make it more interesting, updated and visual. Your website can have a “news” link, and this is where you can post all those press releases. In some cases, websites of other news organizations will allow you to upload your press release to their site as well. You can blast the press release in an email to business colleagues and clients. A press release can go many places.
There’s no doubt about it: you get a lot of bang for your buck with a well written, interesting press release.