Eight Press Release Tips
While world events have significantly altered our lives and how we do business, the tech industry continues to innovate and negotiate customer deals. As a result, the news cycle has been non-stopped, 24/7 since the start of the pandemic. I’ve spoken with many tech editors and industry analysts who have shared the continuous news cycle has limited what they can cover. With many developments that experts expect to come to fruition in the new year, including 5G going mainstream, network automation and the rapid development of networks, and the potential for additional DDoS attacks and the need to increase security to support additional people working from home, the news cycle isn’t showing any indication for slowing down for the upcoming year.
Technology companies will need to be smart about the strategies they take to get a mindshare of the media that will influence their market. Not surprisingly, every company ramps up its press release schedule now. Even those companies that held back on or limited the amount of news during the summer months have started issuing a steady clip of news ahead of virtual trade shows, industry events, or even big customer meetings. Their goal: gain visibility and validation for their products and services and highlight company momentum.
This amped-up release schedule puts pressure on public relations firms to get that big hit or generate massive coverage for their clients. The problem with this approach is that, as we just discussed, you’re not the only company issuing releases now, the market is flooded. Large brands are also issuing news and, because of their size and market impact, steal focus. Now more than ever, it’s more challenging to stand out since there are far more companies and PR people than journalists who cover the news.
While I realize the importance of issuing press releases to communicate critical information to your audiences (not just the media), you can help drive even broader awareness of your press release by employing these tips.
- Tell a story beyond your product or service and talk about the impact that your new offering has for people today. For the telecom world, does your service provide broadband services or give providers access to a better video experience that helps with kids on-line schooling, providing access to bridge the digital divide? Include data and relevant stats about the impact your offering is having on real people. For service providers, the region you serve.
- Include interesting data and customer perspectives that support your announcement. Bulletized points are easy for reporters to ‘lift’ for an article. Customer surveys and industry-analyst reports bring more credibility to your announcement and give reporters other resources that will help them write a broader story. If data comes from an analyst firm, be sure to name the analyst and the firm.
- Make sure your release is newsworthy outside of your company. The simple truth is that while your press release is news to your company and maybe your customers, that doesn’t mean it will be viewed as news by a major media outlet. Some milestones are better suited for blog posts, or if a story has an impressive technical angle, for an exclusive in one of the trade outlets. Be smart and strategic about how you handle your releases.
- Be clear about what the headline is and limit the use of jargon and technical specifications. Articulate how your news is a first or unique for the industry or your target customers. This one should be obvious, but we often find that clients spend so much time weaving in their messaging and technical jargon that the release has limited news value. Reporters are bombarded with releases and only pick up news that is interesting, well written and not self-serving.
- Get the release in front of the right reporters before it crosses the wire. Sometimes reporters will be willing to speak with you under embargo, which gives them more time to write their article and will ultimately result in more substantial coverage to amplify your story.
- Customers are a big draw. Ask customers to provide quotes in your release and, if possible, talk to reporters if you want to get the attention of the media. Customers will help you articulate your offering’s business benefit and bring more credibility to your story.
- Consider the timeliness of your announcement. Suppose you have interesting data on the impact of the network during the upcoming Christmas holiday season. For example, the increase of Zoom or other video calls during the holidays (as a result of shelter in place orders) note that such data has a shelf life of one to two weeks, maximum. If you issue your release after that, don’t be surprised if the media decides it’s no longer newsworthy or relevant.
- Last but not least: leverage social media channels to provide teasers leading up to your announcement, and afterward continue to talk about the importance of what you’ve announced in social media. Don’t make the content too marketing-specific; instead, focus on your product’s or service’s business benefits. Most importantly, engage with other influencers, including the media and analysts who wrote about your news. Thank them on social media and help promote their stories.
While there continues to be much uncertainty in the world, 2021 in the tech world is expected to be busy, with tech companies of all sizes generating press releases and news. If you want to get the media’s attention, be smart in your approach, or your efforts could be wasted.