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Getting publicity with established public relations tactics

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For decades the standard press release was the workhorse tactic of public relations practitioners. If you couldn’t write a decent press release, you were drummed out of the industry.

In those days, when media was king, media was the communication vehicle. Back when I was selling advertising for a large newspaper, I remember one Penton Media publisher remarking over lunch that we were all in the audience delivery business. It was true. You needed journalists to get your story to their readers, listeners or viewers.

No more.

Today, the Internet is the largest publishing platform in human history. Media no longer stands between brands and their customers. Disintermediation has decimated print and broadcast alike. Companies have learned to communicate directly with their customers by means of the once lofty press release.

In his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, author David Meerman Scott makes the useful distinction between a press release and a news release. Press releases are targeted to journalists and publications. News releases are targeted directly to customers and prospects via several Internet PR channels.

News releases are effective direct marketing tools that can drive traffic straight to your landing pages, blog and website. To use them most effectively, Scott urges companies to follow the “new rules of news releases.” For example:

  • Don’t wait until you have big news to report. Find good reasons to send them all the time.
  • Write news releases that appeal to your customers directly, rather than just a handful of journalists.
  • Place links in your news releases to your landing pages on your website.
  • Include offers that compel your readers to respond to your release.
  • Be sure to optimize your news release for searching and browsing.

Are news releases part of your communication strategy? If not, you’re missing opportunities to communicate directly with your best prospects. And in today’s competitive environment, you don’t want to leave any worthwhile tactic under-utilized.

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