When most organizations first open for business, they do so with a bang and make it known on a local and sometimes even national level. The launch tends to be promoted through new business announcements, ribbon cuttings, grand opening events and new customer incentives. The challenge that most organizations face is how to stay in the public eye once they are no longer the new business on the block. Business owners often turn to advertising and direct mail campaigns as a quick solution, but may see better results in both brand awareness and increased revenues if they were to incorporate a strategic, cost-effective PR campaign that would establish credibility, position the business at the top of consumers’ minds, and keep the public informed on business news on an ongoing basis.
Factoring a public relations campaign into a business model allows organizations to establish a positive public image on a consistent basis, which in turn builds credibility and customer loyalty. The first step is to learn the process of press release development and the second is to develop a reporter’s eye to clearly identify the business news that is relevant to the media and the public.
Below is a list of newsworthy topics that can be developed into a press release to secure media coverage and stay in front of the public eye:
1. New Hire – anytime a new employee is hired, a press release should be distributed with information on the employee’s educational background, past experience, new role and responsibility, and the impact this employee will have on the growth of the organization.
2. New Service or Product – when an organization’s products or services have been expanded, it means it’s serving a larger audience and improving capabilities. The media and the public will always want to be updated on the newest products and services on the market.
3. Milestone Accomplishments – as organizations reach new levels of financial success, sign significant deals with clients, experience notable growth in the number of clients, or switch from a private to a public organization, the media should be notified in a press release that gives information on the accomplishment and makes it known why the milestone is significant to the growth of the organization and how it impacts the general public.
4. Partnerships – when an alliance is formed between organizations, it shows a unique collaboration in the business world and business reporters are open to hearing about these relationships and how they will impact the community.
5. Events – whether the organization is hosting an event or contributing to an event, this is a perfect opportunity to show an organization’s level of community support and involvement. This press release should include the event details, pictures (if applicable) and should be used as a resource to show a different, more personal side of the company.
6. Significant Internal Changes – if a new executive has been appointed, board members have been nominated to serve the organization, or executive roles or responsibilities are changing, business reporters should be notified.
7. Awards or Recognition – anytime an employee, group of employees or the entire organization is recognized with an award, the media should be notified of this significant accomplishment. Awards and industry recognition demonstrate an organization’s success and credibility.
Other factors to consider when developing the press release include the timeliness, location and significance of the information as it relates to the media outlet’s readers. As the media receive press releases, they prioritize the content based on these three factors, and whether or not a press release goes to print is largely dependent upon these elements. To increase the odds of press release placement, only distribute information that is recent news and relevant to the local media. The significance of the news should be clearly expressed if the press release revolves around one of the seven topics listed above. A general rule of thumb is to keep the content informative to the public and not self-promoting.
No different than the importance of using the correct ingredients when cooking, the fundamental ingredients of a press release must be incorporated to ensure the desired outcome. When an organization develops and distributes a strong, well-written and informative press release that is of relevancy to the media and public, the goal is easily accomplished and the organization stays in the limelight.