As we enter into 2020, communication practitioners and experts have been looking into how the PR industry will change in this new year. Are we continuing old traditions of managing reputation or are there new emerging tactics and expectations that will be changing the PR game?
First, let us be clear. Press release is nothing new, and the practice can be dated back to 1906 where a railroad company sent the very first press release. But now with the new priorities and expectations as the roles and goals of marketing and public relations have merged, sending business press releases is becoming more important than ever.
Though news releases, in their very nature, had been used by businesses to announce their latest updates. Until recent years, the use of press releases has changed to become a form of content creation that is valued for managing online reputations and promotion.
Press releases now play a strategic role within a larger marketing campaign. The measure of PR success is no longer just limited to the end results of clicks, shares, or the amount of media coverage generated.
A successful press release can do everything from ranking for important money keywords, earn journalist coverage, as well as lead people to feel a certain way about a brand. It can even become the nudge that gets your users to take action and buy your product or service.
This works because it can create trust. And that is why it is so powerful.
At the same time, how we write press releases has transformed as well.
It should no longer be just about your company announcements or updates. Because rather than just being the historic records of business milestones, collectively they should drive the business core message that creates a loyal customer.
Now public relations and press releases have to consider all aspects of a business’s social and digital footprint. Because though your marketing sales letter and promises listed on your social media and homepage are important, users will always Google search your business.
Jason Falls, the Director of Digital and Social Strategy at Connett told Adage, “We can’t just send press releases and assume the traditional media will cover everyone we want to reach anymore. We have to understand consumers and the direction of their attention. Sometimes, that direction is more like a ping-pong ball path than a straight line.”
If you’re not being found online or your online presence is not a splendid one, as a business owner, you lose out on potential sales and customers. Especially if a competitor is showing up for results about your business name, you are bound to lose out.
Your PR plan should outline how you are going to reach your audience and your competitor’s users to create the right message that will influence the way they think about your service or product. Then it takes consistently creating different PRs to make sure that there will be a continuous positive impact over a period of time.
So it’s important to always outline the messaging that will run through all your PRs. for example using a consistent boilerplate and branding like Next Unicorn instead of NextUnicorn.
These messages are the information that you want your audience to remember about your product or service. They should include your unique selling points or specific CTAs. Always remember a news release that doesn’t include strategic messaging is a missed opportunity and won’t yield any influence for the brand.
Audiences are increasingly becoming more wary of brand voice, rather than just believing what you say in your sales letter. In fact, research shows that brands who are actively involved in speaking out about issues are more likely to increase customer loyalty and win respect.
“Americans have an outsized appetite to take actions on issues and drive change,” states the Doing Business in an Activist World study from Global Strategy Group. “They expect brands to do the same – and to engage with them as consumers and employees.”
That’s why companies that take stances on social and political issues are more likely gaining positive publicity and goodwill.
For businesses, it has always been critical that corporate and brand decisions support your values and positions. So why not reflect this in your company communications and messaging like press releases. It doesn’t have to be controversial, just take the recent coronavirus widespread for example.
This also brings us to another important consideration and that is media placement and coverage. Because while news releases are often perceived to be trustworthy, it still really depends where the story is covered. There’s a difference between being seen on Yahoo! News and USA Today versus sites like 1888 PressRelease.com.
Reading this might make press release seems expensive but the truth is, now anyone can get decent press release coverage to notable media outlets with a budget under a hundred dollars.
Though in the past, press releases have been largely dominated by large enterprises.
The thing about PR is that it can be used by any business, big or small. No matter if it is the national favorite drink like Budweiser or the new and upcoming One Wine brand, you see all kinds of businesses using press releases in their strategy to promote their business.
This is the case at MarketersMEDIA, a press release distribution service that caters to both big brands like Evernote and Haier, as well as small and medium businesses like Surviveware which offers safety kits on Amazon.
Daniel Tan, the founder of MarketersMEDIA and SEOPressor said, “It’s not enough to have a great product or service and keep it under the bush. You need to walk the talk and talk the walk, and it’s the same for any business big or small.”
Being available to all businesses, press release seems to be the way to go in 2020 and beyond.
If there’s any way to define when public relations is successful, it is when your marketing team says your product is amazing, the media says you are amazing and results online also says you are amazing…
Your customers will agree and become an army of loyal customers that stand by your business.