online newsrooms

Rethinking the Press Release

Thinking of fresh story hooks and communications channels is better use of your time than word-smithing a press release, which won't run verbatim in major publications anyway.While some organizations waste time word-smithing a press release, wiser hands think of creative ways to entice coverage of their story by reporters and bloggers. Others just publish their own stories.

This doesn't mean the press release is dead. It just means there are a lot more options to look at besides grinding out a faux news story, with the obligatory and often gratuitous quote by the CEO.

Here are some options for story pitching:

Content + Marketing = Brand Publisher

Back in the distant past of 2009, "content" and "marketing" weren't dating. Now they are a couple in the fast-moving world of brand publishing.

Luke Kintigh, managing editor of Intel's new media property called iQ, shared his knowledge from a crash course in content marketing in a recent blog post in The Content Marketeer.

"There is no doubt," Kintigh says, "content marketing is shaking up the marketing world, forcing CMOs to rethink and shift their resources to create newsrooms, content tabs and positions such as Chief Content Officer and Content Strategist."

One of the first lessons Kintigh describes is the imperative to leave "overt marketing fluff" at the door and instead generate content "that one would actually want to share and consume." Before plunging in head first, it is smart to "take the pulse of the Web," he says, by seeing what your target audiences read and share — and where they do it. "Don't mistake marketing objectives," he notes, "for audience interests."

When you reach audiences, Kintigh says, you want to optimize their interaction with your content by ensuring it works on a spectrum of devices — from desktop computers to tablets to smartphones. It also must adapt, he says, to a range of communications channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube.

It is okay to curate content, but in the end the best content, Kintigh insists, is original content. Producing original content, he adds, requires thinking and acting as a brand publisher to "win our audience's attention and ultimately their business."

Self-Publishing and Online Newsrooms

Attract attention and control your message by publishing high-quality press releases on your own online newsroom.Reporters and TV and radio producers routinely look online for story ideas. They also tend to work unusual hours, and many prefer to find information on their own. A nicely packaged and well-stocked online newsroom is a fruitful place to search.

Even if your website fails to snag journalist eyes, others will find it — bloggers, viewers looking for specific information and customers or stakeholders. They may not be looking for story leads, but are interested in your information and thought leadership. Bloggers frequently feed off this kind of information, which can extend the reach of your press release to a more targeted and interested audience than would read it in a traditional media outlet.

Fresh content such as a self-published press release can boost your ratings on search engines, increasing your story's chances of being discovered.