If you think of a press release as a news release it’s much easier the see their importance and relevance to the growth of your business. Tet Kofi, JournoLink brand ambassador, explains what press releases are crucial to your business.
A press release should provide information to the market they never had before. That’s why it’s “news”. Information comes in many forms, but it’s material of interest to the reader because it fulfils some need they have or sometimes did not know they had till they were told. This information can be in the form of trends, developments, knowledges that shape the way the reader lives and works. The key thing is that it solves some problem or satisfies some curiosity that leaves the reader’s life or business enhanced.
Timing and Speed.
A press release can be produced at the drop of a hat to respond to an emerging crisis or opportunity. No other communications instrument has this speed of response or thoroughness. As news is rolling and events happen in real time, Press releases become the crucial tool for responding to situations as they arise with more thoroughness than say a Facebook post (written by yourself and lacking the endorsement of a news organisation that’s thought it newsworthy enough to publish), and without the limitation of a 140-character tweet. That’s why PR is considered as crucial for crisis management.
A reality in the market place.
By connecting the information you send out to people’s needs , your business becomes a reality in the market, not some abstract entity whose activities can be ignored. This is how brands get noticed. By fulfilling the lacks people have they become a part of users lives and thus significant. Press releases are one of the greatest tools for driving this awareness.
Relevance to user needs.
Great press releases hook onto existing or emerging conversations happening in the sector of the product or service. Nothing is relevant in a vacuum. Journalists pick up on releases that tap into the current news hooks and news agenda, the emerging problems and challenges of the day in their sectors, and press releases that show how products are relevant attract instant interest. One of the reasons why businesses don’t get coverage is that they forgot to link their story to trend or a news.
I’ve clients in complementary medicine who are busy now explaining what complementary medicine can do to relieve stress, anxiety, grief, and depression. What’s made them even more relevant is the Grenfell Tower disaster with the massive loss of life in the catastrophic fire. Their services are relevant to survivors, relations of the casualties, the professionals going through the recovery and forensic processes after the fire and so on. Many are volunteering services free of charge for a period, but see that the understanding of what they do through acupuncture and other therapies for example has spiked upwards. Their services and their relevance has risen because they are addressing an immediate and very public need.
I’ve another client who makes Jams with a mission to extend their use and people’s perceptions of the product. He produces exotic preserves with multiple uses and encourages people to think of his product beyond the breakfast or tea table. He sees them as marinades and condiments for meat in other culinary uses. He served the product at the recent Chelsea flower show as part of the traditional afternoon tea in partnership with the Savoy Hotel and shared recipes of how his jams and preserves might be used in other situations. He used a standard need to promote more exotic needs his users did not even know they had for spicing up other culinary repertoire.
So, think of your press releases as news releases. You will then see that they a crucial way of extending your brand’s prominence by making it a reality in the market, relevant to the needs your customers have and providing insights and solutions to lacks clients sometimes don’t even know they have but recognise after being told. Above all they are fast and timely! This is not an optional extra in your marketing and communications mix. Press releases are vital to your brands growth. And to make sure to catch the attention of journalists, follow those 5 top tips to write a great press release.
Written by: Tetteh Kofi, Brand Ambassador for JournoLink.
Tetteh is a broadcast journalist with credits on the BBC, ITN, LBC and Colourful Radio in news and current affairs. He is also an brand ambassador for JournoLink, an online PR platform for SMEs.
For more on this theme, see How to get the media to write about your business