There is no single asset in the entire universe team PWR is more fanatical about than news releases. We LOVE them. And we have some pretty strong opinions about best news release practices. Want to hear them? Here you go…
Brand your brand (not some vendor’s):
Branding matters. That’s as true for releases as it is for marketing and sales collateral. So why are so many brands still sending news releases that highlight their sender’s branding? (That’s a rhetorical question btw…there really is no good answer.) We’re all bombarded by information overload and that’s especially true for journalists. It’s important to make the best impression when they give your release a quick scan…and that means highlighting your branding, not your sender’s.
Include multimedia assets galore:
Journalists need easy access to transferable assets–assets they can then use to craft sharable stories that drive clicks and shares for their own outlets. In fact, journalists recently told us that inclusion of downloadable images in a release increased the chances they would cover the story by 74%. So make sure to include assets such as photos, video, infographics, and quote cards. And give journalists a visual preview and a link so they can download the format that works best for them. Transferable is key! (But no attachments unless a journalists specifically asks for it.)
We’re seeing more success with brands who dare to get creative with their releases. Journalists are open to new ideas and to new presentations of old ideas, so consider small, thoughtful dashes of animation to highlight key assets; add more tactical tips and take aways and consider presenting them as a transferable slideshow; create and share a monthly or quarterly newsletter to targeted journalists establishing your brand as a go-to resource; or use narrative storytelling techniques to tell your brand story from a more human perspective. Yes, journalists still want the who, where, what and why. But they’re now also interested in new twists, channels, platforms and presentations.
Although journalists don’t want to receive releases via social, they are paying attention to social for story ideas and are required to make their own stories sharable (easier with good graphics and multimedia assets). So make sure your assets are sharable but also ensure your release can be shared. Ideally, you should ensure an image automatically loads on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and elsewhere when the release is shared. If a certain platform is particularly important to the news you’re sharing, think more creatively about how to incorporate the platform. Some of our favorite tricks include Twitter wikis, tweetable quotes, and Pinterest pins. And don’t forget to include a social footprint, inviting journalists to follow your brand across social platforms as well.
Ninety-one percent of journalist say email is how they prefer to receive releases. This simply trounces all other distribution channels. But no one, and I mean no one, likes spam. Yes, we know that you’re very important release isn’t spam, but that’s why it’s so important to avoid looking spammy. The top two mistakes that register as spammy are 1) ugly, and 2) irrelevant. So make sure your newsworthy release looks good and is sent only to the journalists who are interested in your topic. It’s also important to follow email best practices with every release.
Think “wire” for SEO:
While releases distributed via email are a much more effective media relations tool, for brands who want to maximize the SEO value of a release there really is no better way to do that than via a small traditional wire release (we use a single market Marketwired releases here but the other big wires are equally effective at this). Add a one market traditional wire distribution and include a link (written out in full) to your branded, multi-media version.