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Do You Really Need That Press Release?

It’s a common dilemma when handling marketing and public relations for B2B tech firms: Any time there’s news – big or small – the expectation is that you should issue a press release. The reality, though, is that press releases aren’t warranted for every announcement, and there often are creative alternatives to press releases that will be a better fit.

Denise Culver

2nd Jul 2020

It’s a common dilemma when handling marketing and public relations for B2B tech firms: Any time there’s news – big or small – the expectation is that you should issue a press release. The reality, though, is that press releases aren’t warranted for every announcement, and there often are creative alternatives to press releases that will be a better fit.

In general, the types of news that calls for a press release include:

  • Major new product launches
  • Significant product updates
  • New data/intelligence/surveys
  • Major customer wins
  • Major industry firsts
  • Important partnerships
  • Earnings results
  • Mergers and acquisitions

 

If the news you’re promoting doesn’t fit well into those categories, you’re likely to have better results with alternative communications vehicles and channels for generating interest in your news.

...there often are creative alternatives to press releases that will be a better fit.

Blogs

Company blogs can be as unique as your business. Depending on your brand and niche, a company blog can be used for everything from minor company news to customer success stories to a collection of in-depth technical tutorials – and so much more. Regardless of content, a good company blog creates a unique voice for your business and brand.

Moreover, a good blog will drive traffic and awareness to your site through increased inclusion in search engine results, while also increasing the stickiness of your site, providing value to your customers and establishing your company as an authority. Blogs are a great way to involve key stakeholders in the content creation process. They’re also easily promoted through email and/or social media to drive up interest and views.

Media alerts

Media alerts are short (one page or less) announcements which are similar to press releases. But unlike press releases, journalists understand that what you’re sending is not hard news. They are a good match for things like upcoming events and speaking presentations.

Effective media alerts should quickly give journalists the facts they need, including likely attendees/participants at the event; a brief description of the event; the dates, times and location of the event; your company boilerplate; and contact information, including a personal email address and phone number.

Press and analyst briefings

It’s vital for journalists and analysts to stay on top of key trends and industry issues, and briefings are a terrific resource for them. Briefings enable you to share business updates that are relevant to analyst and journalist coverage areas, while positioning your company for inclusion into their research or coverage.

Briefings work best when led by a highly knowledgeable stakeholder who establishes quick and interesting rapport with journalists and analysts. It’s also helpful to guide the discussion using a slide deck or sales presentation to illustrate the key points of the discussion. It’s best to keep briefings as short as possible – 30 minutes is a reasonable length, but no longer than an hour.

Media pitches

A media pitch is a targeted communication, usually an email to a journalist who covers your specific technology and/or market. These types of pitches work best when you have an established relationship with the journalist so they know your company, its products/services and the value it brings to the discussion.

It’s important to remember that journalists receive dozens of pitches daily, so yours needs to be newsworthy, brief, structured and timely. You need to personalize the pitch to the journalist, making sure you have the right person who covers the right beat.

Social media

If you’ve done a good job of establishing your social presence – think Twitter, LinkedIn Facebook – those outlets provide a great opportunity for you to disseminate company news/announcements when it doesn’t warrant the effort of creating and approving a press release. Things like video demos, podcasts and infographics work well on social media. Creative use of keywords will also drive traffic back to your website and improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

Byline articles

When your news can be massaged into an objective discussion of an industry topic, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore writing a byline. While doing so limits your exposure to one publication, you should research the best potential media outlets for optimum placement. Not all media outlets are equal in their ability to reach a particular audience. So while media coverage in 10 lower-level media outlets might give you the immediate rush of success, a single byline in the right publication may have more tangible impact.

Without a doubt, press releases remain an important aspect of your job as a B2B tech marketer (many years after their reported death). But they’re not your only resource. Adding these other weapons to your arsenal will allow you to choose the most strategic vehicle for your news, while improving your credibility with the media by not announcing weak news stories through press releases.

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