May 14, 2014

One size doesn’t fit all in the PR world

Written By Rebecca Larkin
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The press release continues to be seen as the ultimate tool for raising a brand’s profile far and wide, but it needs to be exercised with caution.

While a well-written and engaging press release is still a great way to increase your company’s exposure in the media, it’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. This means PR should never be sent to a mass media audience in the hope the story will get published.

A business can have the best PR pieces but, if it is not targeting its intended audience and enticing them to engage with its brand, the chances the release will be picked up are pretty slim.

Here are just a few basic things to consider before you write and send a press release to promote your business:

Get your audience right

Avoid making broad assumptions about your target audience. You might think that your product or service could benefit everyone, but who is your ideal customer? Think about the typical age, gender and income. If you want to reach businesses, prioritise the verticals and job titles you want to target too. Are your target verticals in healthcare or insurance, for example, and will it be the senior level executives that would want to buy your products or use your services? Once you better understand your prospective customers, you will be able to better target your press release.

Read the publications

Never send a blanket email to a long list of journalist contacts. If you do, it’s likely someone will slate you on Twitter, ask you to remove them from your media list, or just ignore you in the future. For every journalist you contact, be confident in what you want to achieve. In this case, you want them to use your press release. Does the contact’s publication or website publish news stories? Do your research so, when you do make contact, the journalist is confident he or she is not just ‘another’ target.

Keep it simple

The public relations profession is about persuasion. This means persuading a journalist to write about your business. It’s a hard task when you consider that journalists often receive hundreds of emails every day. You need to stand out, which means you need to write an eye-catching headline and keep the press release short and simple. Don’t overuse technical or fluffy words – the press sees through this. Ask yourself what is the story, why is it important and who should care (that’s your target audience). Does this story warrant media coverage (especially in the publications you researched) and what are the key takeaways?

Ultimately, you need to be honest with yourself and what you want to achieve. As long as you remember that one size doesn’t fit all – and that research and well-written copy is essential – you’ll be one step ahead of those that aren’t doing it right.