Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why a Press Release Isn’t Always the Answer

Press Release by Jonah Engler

The press release is one of the most important tools in the public relations arsenal. It gets information out there for customers, potential customers and competitors to see when you are ready. But like any tool, it is not right for every job. There are many times it is the right tool, but if used at the wrong time too often it loses its effectiveness even when it should be used. How do you know when to use – or not use – a press release? Here are a few guidelines:

When Press Releases Rock

New product release: Whether it is a new product entirely, a newer, better addition to an existing line, or filling a niche need, a press release is a must. Your media contacts will thank you for timely information on the new and innovative.

Expanding your coverage: If you are moving into a new region, that is news. People will want to know why, how soon, how fast and what you expect to gain by expanding – not to mention how it will affect them. Expansion is the perfect time for a press release.

Major events: Any event with major impact on the business deserves a press release. Hiring a new CEO, partnering with another company or companies, acquiring other companies, all of these justify, no, require, a press release.

When Press Releases Are Rocky

Small gains: Unless you have several flat or negative quarters, reporting small gains looks like you’re just putting the figures out there to fill space. Save press releases for large gains and leave small gains in the quarterly reports for the shareholders.

When only company insiders care: It can be hard to admit, but a lot of things that are very exciting to a company’s employees – be they executives or blue collar – don’t really matter to the rest of the world. You’ve remodeled your headquarters so the offices don’t look like something out of Mad Men – good for you, but unless it’s improving efficiency or generating more revenue, the rest of the world really doesn’t care.

Press releases are useful, but they are not the only, and often not even the best way to get news out. Ask yourself if the subject is newsworthy, are people outside the company interested, and is a general press release better than a focused release at specific journalists in the appropriate beat? If the answer to any of those questions is no, a press release might not be the best choice.

Jonah Engler is a successful entrepreneur, investor, franchise owner and coffee lover who hails from New York City.

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