Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Don’t Forget About News Releases!

Controversy about the future of newspapers swarms headlines every day. There is no doubt that newspapers have to reconsider how they go to market with their product and service. Some newspapers have already begun charging for online subscriptions. No matter what the future holds for newspapers, the one thing that won’t change is the need to send news releases.

In the old days, a “press release” was used to release news to the press; reporters and editors. Documents were written for the media, with the media’s existing understanding of the subject. Nobody actually saw the press release besides a handful of niche reporters and editors.

Today, this has all changed because companies communicate to more than just reporters; companies communicate directly to buyers.

News Releases and the Internet
Pretend for a moment that you’re in the market for a new car. What would you do? Where would you go to begin your research, online and/or offline? I would be willing to bet that your research begins on the Internet through news articles, blogs, etc. A lot of this news comes from news releases because journalists, reporters and bloggers, all go online to company websites to the “news” section to see what’s the latest and greatest thing going on.
A news release should be written in a voice that educates buyers, so you can build a relationship. If search engine marketing is implemented into your marketing plans, then be sure keywords are used in the news releases too.

New releases can be sent to:
·       Trade magazines
·       Journals
·       Associations
·       National, regional and local newspapers
·       Radio stations
Stories can be generated from news releases and posted on social media sites and websites and mentioned in external and internal newsletters.

Components of a News Release
Understand your target audience. Does your target audience need to be sliced up? If so, identify the situations each target audience may find themselves in. What are their problems, business issues or needs? Always focus on what your buyer wants to hear. Make it informative, don’t sell! What are the product benefits? Does your product or service have an environmental, social, health or technology benefit? Is it something that hasn’t been done before? If so, all of this is newsworthy and should be sent to your key publics.

Shallon Hagen is the Director of Marketing for two Ford dealerships, and is responsible for marketing, communication, promotional and public relation strategies campaigns. She has more than 12 years of experience in customer service, sales and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management with magna cum laude honors. She is a freelance writer and graphic designer. You can reach her at shallon.hagen@gmail.com or connect on LinkedIn.

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