Press releases can be the unknown variable that disrupts your perfect marketing plan. Should they be a part of your strategy? Absolutely. Can you easily assign a dollar value and calculate the precise return on investment? Probably not.
When done correctly, a press release can help reach your overarching business goals like increasing sales, raising brand awareness and driving web traffic. It should be treated as an addition, though: like salt on your dinner, it complements the main dish – your ongoing advertising efforts – and enhances the flavor when used sparingly. But too much will overpower the meal – your brand – and ruin it for you and your guests (or in this case, customers).
Planning for Success
If you’ve got big initiatives to share with the public this year, set aside the resources to create a press release early on. Just as something like a new product development requires advanced planning, so should the strategy surrounding its release. You can be sure that Samsung started planning for the release of the S7 Edge long before the final product was ready for launch this year.
Begin your press release strategy with recurring events or those that are highly anticipated. This puts your company in a proactive position, prevents scrambling and makes the best use of your resources. Though the exact date you send your release may be hard to pin down, you should have no problem anticipating big, noteworthy events within your company as you achieve your goals throughout the year.
Planning for Everything Else
Both good and bad things can come out of the blue. Perhaps your company is honored with an award or you pair with a few other local businesses to organize a charity event. Maybe there’s an incident that requires a response from your business. Things like this aren’t always easy to predict, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare like you would for your planned press releases.
When accounting for unplanned news, prioritize and optimize your resources by asking the following questions:
- What’s the goal in distributing this press release?
- Will the public care about this news?
- Is it really news or is it just new?
- When is the next (or when was the last) press release?
- Could I use another channel to best reach my audiences?
That last point can be a little tricky to decide. A press release, once written, can become a type of creative brief that can guide distribution of your news through a variety of channels. Internally, that press release can be reworked into a blog post, used to create an infographic or serve as the base for other types of branded content. However, just because another format would also reach your audience does not automatically exclude a press release as a viable option.
Above all, it is crucial to keep press releases timely. You are distributing news, not history. That said, don’t douse your readers in salt. If you are organizing a charity event, you’ll need a marketing strategy around it, but multiple press releases about all the good your company is doing may have the opposite effect. Try not to saturate your market and instead choose very specific content, distribution channels and goals to reap the most rewards from your press release.