Save yourself (and your customers) from boring press releases

The marketing industry is constantly shifting, and the way we share news is a prominent marker of this change. Obviously, the Internet forever changed the traditional press release format, creating a much wider audience for any given news announcement. Then in 2006, Todd Defren’s social media press release helped brands learn to optimize news content for social channels, search engines and an interactive audience. Today’s marketing ecosystem is rich with email campaigns, blogs, content downloads and other alternatives that help companies engage directly with audiences.
However, the press release remains an anchor for major announcements in many industries. Why do brands – and audiences – continue to regard press releases as a major way to distill and distribute news?

Our take: As PR, marketing and social media continue to evolve, a press release’s direct ability to share news and context, while providing base material for news outlets to distribute such information, remains relevant. The next time you prepare to release company news in any form, consider if your approach is shareable, engaging and interactive enough to yield maximum results.

Be social, visual and direct
Outlets such as BuzzFeed and The New York Times will represent the future of news, according to a recent survey by BusinessWire. The reason why is simple – in different ways, both outlets mix long and short-form news, and offer content that’s visual, personalized and snackable.

Consider how your news will be shared, and what aspects of it will resonate most. For example, your announcement’s title will likely translate to a slew of tweets from readers. Use this as a chance to be frank and grab attention with your title, while employing major keywords in an organic way – written for human readers, not SEO spiders. Back up your killer title with an intro paragraph that give readers everything they’ll need to know about your news. Then, work any associated images, graphics, videos or quotes directly into your content.

Tailor news for a layered audience
Who’s the primary target for your next news announcement? You might think it’s your existing customers, your investors or another party altogether. However, each of these answers would be wrong – if it were isolated from the others. Every announcement your brand makes will reach a wide audience, and you should prepare it with each member of that group in mind. This may include:

  • Internal managers and team leads, who provide and confirm the details for an announcement;
  • Social audiences looking for an incentive to engage with and share the news;
  • Boards of directors and investors with stakes in your company;
  • Editors and journalists who will choose whether to cover the news;
  • Prospective customers who may or may not be familiar with your brand; and
  • Existing customers with brand loyalty you’re working to maintain.

The laws are changing
In any form, news announcements are only one piece of your PR and marketing puzzle. The standards and options for brand communications will continue to change, as will the tools and channels we use to support and amplify content. To stay ahead of the curve, know that an announcement alone won’t qualify as a content marketing strategy – but if you create one with the industry’s current expectations and interests in mind, it can be a valuable addition to your comprehensive plan.

Learn more ways to enhance the ROI of your content marketing strategy.

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