Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Press Release Flop! Do Yours The Right Way


Every day businesses are trying to get the message out about how good they are and trying to entice us to take an interest in or notice them. Content marketing is the new way to present information as part of an overall strategy and to work well, needs to be the right message for the appropriate people you want to see it, the context a good fit for bringing your information together with the people who will value it and showcase your expertise and ability to solve a problem your target group wants fixed. 

Today I opened this email. I don't have any idea who this person is who sent it but their business is not remotely a product I would have any need or potential to buy.

"Hello, 

 I am contacting you to let you know about the very latest press release published by my company. 

Please click on the link below to access it. 

 Do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information. 

Thank you very much."

What's up with that? 

Now this is wrong in so many ways I barely know where to start but let me check them off on a list for you.
  1. This was sent by someone I don't know and would never have signed on to get notices from which means it was not something I opted in to receive. This is precisely the definition of spam.
  2. The business sells products that I not only have no need for, but have no possible use for as they are specific industry products that don't apply to me in any form, in any way.  This is an indication of a poor understanding of marketing principles. Not all activity is good activity.
  3. An email to tell me about a press release is not in my interests, it is only about them. No WIIFM.
  4. Something they want me to know about could be in the email but this not only was an email of no possible interest or use to me, but required me to take action to go to another site to see it!
  5. There was no framing of the purpose of the email to lead me into having an interest, no consideration of benefit the reader would get from it and no targeting to get it into the hands where it could be of some practical use
  6.  This was sent via a "PR App" which demonstrates once again, the technology alone is no substitute for a good well considered strategy and an understanding of the marketplace that uses technology.
  7. While sending me this email had no possible upside, the capacity to harm the reputation of the company by using poor practices in their marketing is a real and present risk for the company.

What's a better way to approach sending press releases?


Firstly the notion of a press release needs to be reviewed.

A press release should from the outset, follow some guidelines for any well crafted communication. It should contain information that is relevant to the audience, clearly state the important elements to them and form part of an overall communication strategy.

Your audience that you want to reach, largely finds their information online. That's where they put their attention, so that's where you need to be putting your attention.  Many and heading to most people now are accessing the internet using  mobile phones or tablets. Your information needs to be presented in a way they can view it.

Business need to understand the new marketplace and what the expectations are for those accessing information. Google and other search engines are getting better at finding quality and relevant information for those searching, and penalising sites that post junk.

We are inundated with a ton of information every minute of the day in email and other advertising and marketing messages that are in our face online and offline. Getting cut-through means grabbing the attention of those who have some interest in your niche and having a message that will attract their eye.  Press releases, by their very nature are self-serving so they should provide something for the reader, not just suck up time that the reader will resent when having read it, realise their time was spent for utterly no purpose or advantage to them. Nobody will thank you for that.

So, what to do?


  • Review your current activities in marketing and getting your business known in the marketplace
  • Audit the success or otherwise of your efforts to date
  • Develop a strategy for your business that includes marketing and operational aspects to promote the business energetically and across the departments
  • Ensure your marketing plan has a detailed Content and Context strategy and program
  • Create a good template for your press releases as part of your content production and schedule at appropriate intervals. 
  • Segment your data base to ensure that your messages are getting to the people who can use them
  • Put steps in place to be able to monitor and usefully analyse the results of your efforts.
  • Take care not to confuse the technology with the strategic purpose. Promoting the cause of your business comes under the umbrella of marketing broadly, but it essentially always, always, a business issue. 


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