should you send out a press release? You want to know my acid test? If
it’s newsworthy and if it’s useful to the reader. It’s that simple.
There are many factors
to weigh when considering the need to send out a press release. As a publicist I have sent thousands of releases over the years and
while there are no hard and fast rules, the most important factor is that
you’ve got to make sure it’s newsworthy and useful to the reader. Any
thing else and it’s just a waste of time for the members of the media.
A good press release
can accomplish a lot of things too. It can be used to announce information
to the public, your investors, the media, your customers and even your
competitors about you and your activities. To help my clients determine
whether something is newsworthy I compiled a list of fifty-five press
release ideas I give to them to get their ideas flowing about their own
businesses. Some are for general
consumer media and some may not apply to all business types.
1. Announce a new service.
2. Announce a new product.
3. Tie in with a national holiday, a birthday or anniversary.
4. Report a new study of your own and your analysis or forecast.
5. Tie in with a controversy by commenting on it.
6. Co-op an event with the media.
7. Utilize a national survey or study to your benefit.
8. Announce your exhibit at a trade show or convention.
9. Commission a survey and report the results.
10. Write a white paper and announce its availability at your web
11. Create and
promote a special event.
12. Use a current news event to frame your release.
13. Host a seminar and announce the information discussed.
14. Announce an upcoming speaking engagement.
15. Schedule a speaking engagement at the local library… for free.
16. Make reprints of
speeches available at your website.
17. Create a contest and offer a prize that’s newsworthy.
18. Pricing and policy changes.
19. Patents and trademarks.
20. Litigation won.
21. Announce the
results of a new study.
22. The number of hours your employees donate volunteering in your
23. Involvement in various community events and activities.
24. Innovative use for your products.
25. First person stories about people using your product or services.
26. New clients
27. New testimonials.
28. Celebrities that use your product or service.
29. Financial projections and forecasts.
30. Announce a public appearance.
31. Appointments by
government officials to offices.
32. Retirement of well respected and revered employees.
33. Recognition of long-time employees with 25 years of service or more.
34. Internal promotion of key staff members.
35. Send a letter to the editor and CC the media and your audience,
“in case they
36. New members of
37. Results of an election.
38. The passage of an important resolution.
39. Anniversary of the founding date of the organization or company.
40. Charitable donations by your organization.
9001certification of your company.
42. New awards won.
43. Association membership.
44. Publicly release a letter from a soldier or someone with poignant
45. Report on a public project and offer insight to the problem.
46. Protest an
activity or issue.
47. The sponsorship of a community event.
48. How to apply for internships in your company.
49. How to apply for scholarships offered by your company.
50. Open house where people can tour your plant, office etc.
51. Create an award
to honor individuals in the community.
52. The appearance in front of a public entity, i.e., testimony before
the US Senate.
53. Host a public debate.
54. Announce a fact finding trip and then report your findings.
55. Host a celebrity event and tie in your company.
Once you get the release written now what? How do you put it in the hands
of the media? How can a company or individual know if it can handle media
relations themselves or if it needs to hire a public relations firm, an
independent publicist or a full fledged marketing firm? If you aren't
completely certain after debating the pros and cons, ask these questions:
Are we getting
all the PR we deserve?
competition getting more than their fair share of media coverage?
coverage bring more business to the firm?
Do we have a PR
strategy for continuous year round media coverage?
Is our in-house
“PR person or department” overburdened with “in-house” work
like the company newsletter?
First of all, let's define a PR firm. Some people interchange a PR firm
with a marketing firm, or marketing agency, or even an ad agency.
Basically a public relations firm handles media relations and is the
interface between a company and the news media.
A public relations
firm or publicist will “pitch” the media on a story idea involving a
company, invention or author. A good pitch about a story that would
interest the people who read, watch or listen to a particular media outlet
Many larger companies
rely on in-house staff trained in public relations or marketing while
others hire PR consultants or publicists to handle their PR campaigns.
Joe Nicassio, author
of Guerrilla PR Brand Manager, says whether a company should
conduct its public relations, marketing or advertising campaigns
internally or externally should be determined by these factors:
Do you NEED solid, consistent media exposure week after week, or are you
satisfied with "occasional" exposure?
Do you have the internal staff and expertise to commit the internal
resources to your public relations, marketing, advertising efforts?
If you have the internal staff, and they understand Guerrilla PR
principles, then there may be no reason to hire an outside agency.
Paradoxically, the busier you get, the easier it is to parlay, or
"set aside" consistent, important PR activities. Don't get
caught in that trap!
"Public Relations is a craft that requires PASSION," says
Nicassio. "You may need PR, and you may even have the people to
conduct your public relations, marketing, advertising campaigns but that's
not enough. To be truly effective, your PR campaigns must be conducted
with PASSIONATE CONSISTENCY."
is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations
firm. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX &
Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, ESPN, The New York Times,
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