If your company has more than a handful of products and yet your last press release was in February of this year—or 2010!—the answer is probably “no.”
“Wait a minute! Aren’t we always reading marketing and PR articles that say editors hate getting inundated by too many press releases?”
Excellent question! However, a better question is, “What is the rule for determining whether we should send or not send a press release?”
“Is it newsworthy? Does it apply to the editor we’re sending it to? Does it actually say anything?”
You DO have stories to tell
Maybe you are too close to your products to be able to be truly impartial. You deal with them every day. Nothing that your company or products do or say can really surprise you. That is why you either need to consult an outside authority like an agency or train yourself to think like an outsider.
In our experience, all companies have stories to tell, have news to report. Talk to us—or any other good agency—and I’ll bet we can uncover the news.
And what of the editors? Remember, the editors aren’t against press releases or stories—they just don’t want stories that don’t make sense, will take hours to re-write, are poorly researched, sound like a sales pitch or that don’t address their demographic. They need stories to keep their magazines full, interesting and relevant. They want your stories! And yes, that includes press releases.
How much is enough—or too much?
It depends on your company, the size of your market, the number of products and different categories you have and the industries in which you play. But in general, for larger companies with multiple categories, if you don’t send out, on average, at least one press release per month, you are likely overlooking something. (Obviously, if you have just a few products, this number may be smaller.)
And at least a few times per year, you need to commission an application story or case study to submit to the trade press as an editorial piece. Writing and overall journalistic standards have to be at least as high as those of the magazines, but given that, your stories will find a home. This will help to keep your message and your company toward the top of your potential customers’ consciousness.
We’ll take it as a given that you’re not going to try to publish a press release that says no more than, “Hey! Here we are! Woo-hoo!” But any real info that you have to share with the trade—be it new product, an upgrade to existing product, a new location or a new vice-president of something—is information that the editor wants to know and to share.
What is the bottom-line? If you don’t have the time to stay on top of PR, have someone else internally or externally handle it for you. It is just too important to let slide for 6 months, as I’ve seen on many equipment manufacturers’ websites. Or a year. Or two. Or more, in some cases.
If you need help, give us a call—maybe we can steer you the right direction even if you don’t end up as our client.
Matt Fueston is an Account Manager for Ellenbecker Communications, is responsible for new business development, and contributes as a staff writer. He believes in the intersection between Sales and Marketing.