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Posted 18 February 2005 - 10:05 PM
I'm going to get a bit on the here, so bear with me (It's just I get all giddy when we talk about non-SEO-related marketing around here. Besides, I'm kind of qualified...I have a marketing MBA, plus former VP Marketing, and a few years of online marketing experience).
IMO, facts are "news" if they are of helpful interest to a target audience - primarily publications', but also the company's - other than when that audience is looking to hire/purchase.
Examples? I'll turn to the experts....
An exciting example of piggybacking on a hot topic I got to see firsthand last year: During American Idol kick-off, Bob Baker (author of Guerrilla Music Marketing) and some others issued a press release about music industry myths perpetuated by competition shows. They didn't mention their own companies in the release (other than in the contact section), but got a lot of attention. Within a week, Bob got four or five radio and TV interviews out of it, with his book and site being mentioned in each. Now - a year later - a Google search on his name and press release title turned up 102 results.
This was win-win-win: He had newsworthy information to share with his target audience ("You don't need to have Simon's approval to be a successful musician/singer"), the media got a great story, and he got added publicity.
Some other ways to make a press release newsworthy...
From George McKenzie (spent 30 years in radio and TV): upcoming events, contests, human interest stories (unusual hobbies, etc.), trends.
From Marcia Yudkin (author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and a bunch of other marketing books and reports), ideas for coming up with a newsworthy angle: compile a list of helpful tips, donate your product/service to a charitable cause, offer surprising facts about your product.
OK, end of .
Posted 19 February 2005 - 08:01 AM
What about a bricks & mortar store that happens to also have a web site announcing the line of prom dresses they're carrying for 2005? They of course carried many of the same designers the previous year, but have added some new ones. And of course all of the styles are different this year.
Looking at it in a vacuum this would appear to be pure hype on their part in order to gain links. A press release by a store to tell people what lines they're carrying this year? Does that qualify as newsworthy?
But by the same token the press release can help also the store's walk-in traffic when the press release is picked up by some newspapers that are local to their store. And they may even start getting some requests from other local or national magazines to write an article to explain how they help the girls choose the dress that is best for them.
Hype? Yes. An attempt to get more links? Certainly. But it does go beyond that too. For those wondering, yes the above is a real world example, where all of the above has really happened.
(Sound familiar Karon? )
Posted 19 February 2005 - 09:55 AM
To me, it's satisfy a need for information first (ie, in the case you mentioned, people want to know and are looking for information about the fashions this year). If the need and demand for information is there from the target audience(s) [I'm including reporters and editors in that group], then IMO there's nothing wrong with implementing PR in a way that gets noticed.
The point of all marketing, after all, is to help potential customers understand how you can fill their needs/wants and to figure out the steps to effectively deliver that message (all toward supporting the overall business goals, of course).
IMO, the key to effectively delivering the message in this case is presenting the info with reader's point of view in mind, not the company's goals.
Posted 19 February 2005 - 10:01 AM
It seems unless you have something to say that's really crazy and offbeat and/or controversial, no one is interested.
How does the avg. business come up with stuff like that?
Posted 19 February 2005 - 10:21 AM
Hire Karon to write it.
She can make anything most of us would over-hype sound good and newsworthy.
Posted 19 February 2005 - 10:26 AM
Posted 19 February 2005 - 11:11 AM
Maybe it's a personal fear of branding myself as "an expert with severe limitations" lol ... maybe it's my personal disgust with reporters self-righteous claim that indiscriminately digging into people's personal lives is truly in the interest of freedom of speech and "the people have the right to know," etc....
Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything I'm trying to hide, I don't expect my personal life to be of any interest to anybody, nor do I fear paparazzi to be following me wherever I go. Am I shy? No, I'm fairly outgoing and don't hesitate to express my opinion when I feel I have something to contribute, and usually won't have a problem presenting to a small crowd. I just consider myself a private person, and am not comfortable with the spotlight pointed directly at me ... at my business, sure, but not at me, and that's a problem, because I am my business.
I did happen to do a radio interview last summer at an event I was flying / selling kites ... yeah, it drew some business I'm sure, but I was really uncomfortable and hoped no one I knew was listening at the time.
I don't know that I have a real point to make, but if the goal of a PR is to provide information, get some distribution of your information, and encourage backlinks, then I'm good with that. If the goal is to draw out interviews and personal bios .... I really don't know that I'm good with that, and turning such away could do more harm than having not done the PR at all.
Posted 19 February 2005 - 11:35 AM
I've effectively used local press releases for very minor "stories", such as a new hire or aquisition of new equipment or adding new services, or whatever it is that the company does. It's not as much about creating a whole newsworthy story as being visible... hey, we're here, don't forget us.
They don't all get picked up, but I'm surprised and the number that do, even just as a small blurb in a "what's happening" column in the business section. IMO, they are useful because reporters are always looking for info and filler stuff and you never know when you will inspire them to do a feature story on some aspect of what you do and cite you as an expert. And getting mentioned in the paper, tv, or radio is never bad for business!
Doing a national press release (and getting any real play on it) requires a story, an event, or a major happening of some sort. Those are more difficult to get placed.
Online press releases appear to me to be more about self-promotion and links. While it's true some may turn into worthwhile stories in some media, for the most part the seem to exist to churn content into sites that don't want to write their own. SO, as long as that works, might as well use it. Those releases do generate a nice boost in links for a short period of time.
It always helps to have a great hook, but I don't often see online releases getting picked up by other types of media. Because usually, it costs money (or time) to get the story in front of the right people, using a traditional wire service and well-selected categories OR a direct distribution list created by a public relations professional.
Posted 19 February 2005 - 02:06 PM
The content of press releases gets picked up by the search engines almost instantly.
As a recent example I was doing some work for a US band that is about to embark on a European tour. Although the the bands website, the record labels website and a number of music distribution websites all have the tour information two of the top listings when you type in 'band name tour' are two of press releases.
The press release links to the other websites and it works well as a snappy introduction to them all - so certainly if you have a website that is experiencing a 'sandbox' effect the press release is a way of getting search terms listed quickly (i.e. within 48 hours).
Sure a lot of press releases are only interesting to the people issuing them but press releases have been around for years and sometimes what is not of interest to me may be of great interest to you.
Posted 19 February 2005 - 05:50 PM
Not completely sure it was newsworthy, as all I had done was redesign a subsection of my website, but I printed it out and mailed it to the target market and the local rags - its a community support thing I do (and my business interest is gathering the search engine referrals to have a better feel for what people are looking for in the industry).
Just because I could, I put it on the freebie press release sites I know of.
Now y'all are making me think I am just hacking for attention
Posted 19 February 2005 - 07:21 PM
In the real world, you don't publish a press release, you send it out to those who can publish it for you. The process is more akin to a human-reviewed directory than to what is essentially a FFA links page. I think PR sites that accept anything and everything will very quickly dilute their usefulness and, by this time next year, be of very little value. Indeed, I think we're already seeing that progression.
As Scottie so ably said, the secret to "real" press releases is almost always to think locally. My sites have published three anthologies in the past six years, and each book release has generated somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand press releases. Every author in the book is encouraged to submit their own local newspapers, libraries, school newspapers, etc, and to add a personalized paragraph and quotation to a prewritten PR template for the book. I review and rewrite as needed, and about two weeks before the book launch, all of the press releases are mailed (some electronically, many still through snail mail) to news organizations across the country. It's impossible for me to know, for sure, the percent that actually get picked up and published, but the reports from my authors (and traffic spikes) are encouraging enough to continue the PR barrage with future books.
I used to run a small weekly in San Diego, and I believe there's a very simple secret to getting editors to use your press release. Yea, it has to be newsworthy, sure it should be well written, and okay, it's great if you can come up with a unique angle. But the real thing every editor is looking to publish is . . . names.
People don't want to read about events, they want to read about other people. National news organizations want national names, but local newspapers want local names. Print a blurb about John Smith and you just made readers out of Smith, his immediate family, and many of his friends. Mention Smith's affiliation with the Elk's Lodge over on Stewart Street and you just added another forty or fifty lodge brothers. Mention where he graduated and you pick up a few more interested readers. Names, names, names. It's the one thing a local rag can still do a thousand times better than a national.
Does that relate at all to on-line PR repositories? I don't know. How many of you here have searched for your own name, or the names of friends and relatives? Vanity searches still bring a ton of traffic to most of my writing sites, and last year I even had an acquaintance I haven't seen since 1976 write me when he found my name in Google.
People, I think, will always be interested in people.
Posted 19 February 2005 - 08:57 PM
And although it may not be very targeted, you just don't know who is going to read it, and where else it may take you. I was featured on TV last fall, that came about as a result of an interview in the local newspaper. And that in turn came about when I went to help a local ladies group build a rock garden, and they had a reporter there who asked me what I did...... But as someone else said, the limelight is not for everyone. I am sure I came across as a complete eejit on tv, and I know I am a lot more comfortable building rock gardens than I am in front of a camera.
The other way I have gotten publicity is through local contacts. I built my first website at our local CAP site (an initiative of Industry Canada, providing internet access etc in public places) and it has flourished to the extent that 40% of my sales are online. This has generated quite a bit of interest. I have made two presentations at events organised by the Regional Development Commission, been featured in one of their advertising campaigns, and am soon to appear on the cover of an Industry Canada publication.
So I think there is always a story there somewhere. The difficult bit for those of us who aren't natural self promoters is to understand that what we do day in and day out may be of interest to the press when seen from a different perspective.
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