Developing a Newsworthy Press Release for Reputation Management

A press release can be a powerful tool for reputation management. It gets the word out about an event or other newsworthy piece of information, and often portrays a company in a positive light.

But there is, of course, an art to developing, writing, and pitching press releases. That’s why we asked several experts for their best tips on press releases for reputation management. We received an overwhelming response, and with so much great advice, we’ve decided to break this information down into three articles in a new Press Releases for Reputation Management series.

These three articles covering reputation management press releases include:

  • Developing a Newsworthy Press Release for Reputation Management
  • Writing a Press Release for Reputation Management
  • Promoting Reputation Management Press Releases

In this first article of the series, you’ll learn about how you can identify newsworthy information for press releases, make your release interesting, and even tailor your press release to improve your reputation.

Make it Newsworthy

Every press release has to be worthy of ink, digital or otherwise. So it’s essential that your press release focuses on information that’s important enough to share.

“If you are not the news, become the news,” suggests Danielle Hutchins, public relations specialist with Freight Center And if possible, find a way to tie in your release to a current news trend. With a tie into current news, it will be much more likely that your release is picked up.

You should also be very clear about why you’re creating a press release. “This sounds obvious, but there should be news of some kind, reminds Jackie Ardrey of Cold Brew Kitchen. “What are you telling people, and what do you want them to do? Be clear and concise.”

How can you know whether or not your story is newsworthy? Just read the news and consider how your press release stacks up.

“If you’re not sure, look at what media outlets in your area and industry are covering,” recommends TC McClenning, marketing communications specialist with Top Cat Creative. “What most people fail to realize is that a good 50 percent of stories in the media started as a press release.”

McClenning explains that it would be impossible for a publication to be aware of every award, promotion, new product or service, record sales year, business merger or expansion, or new business. That’s where the small, but mighty, press release comes in to help journalists keep up with the latest news and updates.

It’s also important to avoid trivial news releases or those that only serve to stroke a company’s ego. “Be sure your news release subject is, in fact newsworthy for people in the intended audience and not a company’s ego trip about something like “my cat had kittens,” advises Marketing/PR Savvy’s Ford Kanzler. “Be real serious about this.”

Be Sure It’s Interesting

Does anyone care about what you’re sharing? It’s a hard truth to swallow, but with thousands of press releases generated daily, maybe not. Your challenge is to make sure what you’re sharing is compelling enough to write a press release about.

“Make sure that whatever you’re going to release is significant,” recommends Jane Dizon from FREE Advertising. “Bear in mind that nobody cares and the true challenge is making your target readers notice and think, “I have to read this!””

Of course, getting attention for your press release assumes that you’re sharing newsworthy information. “You can write a press release for just about anything, but unless it is newsworthy and worth talking about, it won’t do you any good,” warns Visual Impact Group market research analyst and copywriter Ashley Orndorff.

Appeal to Current Events

Press releases can be made more relevant when tied to current events or even a particular season. “Try to tie in your company or organization to something currently happening in the news,” suggests Jody Lamb, Datapak Services Corporation marketing manager. “If that is not possible, try to connect your company or organization to the current season or holidays.

Examples of Newsworthy Press Releases

Even knowing what’s in the news and exciting within your company, it’s not always obvious what you should be sending press releases about. Naresh Vissa, founder and CEO of Krish Media & Marketing suggests these ideas for business owners and marketers:

  • Raising a round of funding
  • Appointing a big name to your management team or board of directors
  • Launching a new product
  • Reporting earnings
  • Acquiring a new company

Press Releases for Reputation Management

If you’re putting together a press release in response to a reputation problem, you have a key opportunity to identify change and growth for the better in your organization. Be sure to tie what you do for the press release into the reputation problem.

“If your biggest complaints are about a lack of customer service, then send your reps to a class to learn, and have them share what they’ve learned at a meetup for the community to teach others,” suggests Orndorff. “That is an event worth talking about.”

This particular example is an excellent press release opportunity. “Not only are you directly addressing the issues brought up by your customers, you’re taking immediate action and getting involved in the community as well,” points out Orndorff. “People care about Corporate Social Responsibility, and this is a good way to show it.”

The bottom line? “Do something real,” suggests Orndorff. “You have to do something people will care about.”

Understand the Goals of a Press Release

A press release connects your story and your business to the public, but be careful not to confuse it with advertising. Be clear about what you expect to achieve with a press release, and understand that sales may not be on the menu.

What exactly can press releases do? “Press releases keep the media and your industry informed of your company’s recent developments,” says Hutchins. They’re also meant to get the interest of journalists who may want to write on the topic, furthering your company’s visibility.”

But it’s important to be careful about assuming heightened visibility will translate directly into sales. Julia Angelen, public relations expert with Z Group PR warn, “Before I ever create a press release or contact a journalist, my client and I understand the goals for PR. Often, they are focused on sales, but interested in building their brand.

Ultimately, your goal of a press release should simply be to share important news about your company. “Don’t write a news release because you’re expecting to magically get media coverage,” advises Snackbox principal Jenna Oltersdorf. “Instead, write a news release because you have real news to share.”

Is a Press Release the Best Option?

Press releases are attractive, but remember that they are not well suited to every piece of news. A press release may not be the best avenue for the particular information you’re releasing.

“Press releases should be inherently newsworthy and target news editors and writers,” Arik Puder, founder and president of Puder PR suggests. “If your story is evergreen, perhaps a targeted pitch is more appropriate than a press release.”

Writing a Reputation Management Press Release

Developing and identifying the right idea for a reputation management press release is just the first step. To really deliver a killer press release, you’ll need to write it carefully and with your reputation in mind. Stay tuned for expert tips on writing a reputation management press release that gets results.

Photo by Flickr user jorgecancela