Back to basics: meat and potato press releases

By Chowning Johnson on September 14th, 2009

In public relations, press releases aren’t really the Holy Grail, but they are certainly a meat and potatoes staple of the profession. That being said, many have speculated if this form of PR is moving toward extinction, especially as social media continues to gain momentum. A recent opinion piece from Bulldog Reporter highlights this exact issue and evaluates the press release’s vital signs. Currently, there is no true replacement for press releases, but surely there’s room for improvement.So, what can you do to ensure your press release stands out from the rest of the healthcare IT vendors while keeping up with the changing times?

Minimize the marketing hypeFor starters, and yes we are all guilty of it at one point or another, make your press release as straightforward and fact-based as possible by including the information that editors want.

  • Try to minimize marketing language.
  • Hone in on the news you are presenting and what it’s all about.
  • Make sure the editors and – just as important – your target audiences understand what you’re highlighting.

Supplement with social media and other toolsWhile you may pay for wire distribution of press releases, social media sites like Twitter provide a free medium for disseminating your company’s recent news. By posting a compelling, brief overview of the content, you may gain the attention of individuals in your target audience and, depending on who’s watching, a news editor.SEO-friendly content is another cost-free way to optimize visibility. You could even improve your ranking in Google and Yahoo searches. Think, key words that your prospects would type into a search engine when looking for a new solution in your sector.Get it to the right personWhile wire services are an easy way to send out a press release to numerous people, they don’t necessarily mean it is ending up in the correct person’s inbox. Make certain you are being as targeted as possible in your distribution. For example, national distribution may not always be the way to go.Additionally, follow or befriend editors on social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter as well as monitor each publication’s blog. This will keep you informed of what they’re covering and what might pique their interest. After you’ve done your homework, don’t be afraid to reach out and share your news if it’s a good fit.Though this may seem like PR 101, going back to the basics with a few new bells and whistles will help you stay ahead of the competition and garner the attention your news deserves.