On the surface, sending press releases to your local news media seems like one of the easiest ways to get free publicity.
One business owner I know was featured in a newspaper story and suddenly, business was booming. While striking that gold can be wonderful, it sometimes takes a lot of digging. In the meantime, there’s no point in sending drivel to your local news reporter — it’s not going to put you at the top of his/her source list when it’s time for that next piece on your area of expertise.
Here are three examples of press releases you should not write or send:
Yes, business publications may print that your junior staffer is now a senior staffer. Locally, the Triangle Business Journal posts and prints some of these items. But they have an online form for it, so keep the clutter out of their inbox and use their preferred method. With others, be sure you’re sending it only to the types of news outlets that actually want that news. WRAL isn’t going to care that your tw0-employee company is now up to three.
If you have a legitimate story angle for either TV or newspapers, that doesn’t mean you must blast a press release with a cc to every media outlet. Instead, craft an email to a specific person with your three main bullet points to start a conversation.
The Blatant Ad
The word “news” means something is new, different or useful. For example, a new restaurant opening downtown. A partnership that somehow affects the city or its residents. An expansion to a new space. I actually write a lot of “information” press releases that should be crafted as pitches, but to the client, a “real press release” is better. In some cases, that’s fine and those can be posted on free PR websites to help with SEO. But before sending it to Jane Reporter at WTVD or the News & Observer, consider whether the information you are sending is something newsworthy or just a chance to mention your name and company.