Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Press Release Evolves: An Old Medium for a New Kind of Marketing
Guest blogger Russell Max Simon is a founding partner and senior editor at Epylium, creating branded journalism and content matched to clients’ marketing strategies. He also blogs on marketing and communications at http://www.rmsstrategies.com.
For businesses looking to get the news out about their company, it seems almost every week brings a new tool with which to spread the company message. A corporate blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, and most recently, a Google+ account. A different type of content for each medium, the pros will tell you.
But what of the venerable, tried and true press release?
Practitioners of new media, social media, and most especially content marketing (I practice all three, by the way) may tell you that the press release is in decline, or worse, already obsolete.
Well, they don’t have to be. The press release (also known as a news release; the two are so close in practical meaning as to be nearly interchangeable) can be a powerful tool of content marketing. But first you’ll have to re-think the fundamental character of what’s in it.
The fundamental purpose of a press release has been to announce company news: a new hire, an acquisition, a new product. The problem is that in today’s competitive economy and over-saturated media environment, that sort of news just isn’t generally relevant to a wider audience. Another way to put it is that that kind of content isn’t relevant to your real target audience, which is to say those with whom you hope to engage, build trust, and eventually do business.
Content marketing is the act of producing high-quality, relevant content to achieve those marketing goals, and in this regard, press releases can help, if they evolve. Press releases as a tool of content marketing must do more than announce company news, though, and the type of news that is announced is more likely to be an executive’s analysis of a current trend than a merger announcement. They must show thought leadership, tell compelling stories, build trust, and be consistently original, enlightening, and innovative. Press releases as content marketing should work in coordination with your marketing strategy to position the company as delivering on your core message and value proposition.
The world is full of tools that have been re-imagined to serve another purpose. The press release can be re-imagined as well, from the chosen form for company announcements to a tool of content marketing.