One major issue within the PR industry is how many people think the only way to reach the media is with a press release.
There are many who think that a strategic PR program is merely issuing press releases to the media. A press release can be useful but needs to be leveraged in such a way that has the maximum desired effect which will offer something fresh to the news agenda.
Perhaps the problem is the result of non-PR folks relying on the counsel of his or her trusted PR advisor, who believes that shooting out a barrage of news releases to the media will, in turn, create enough awareness that demand for their products or services will be off the charts. Not!
First, there is a common misconception that if one distributes a bunch of unrelated press releases it will create a “saturation effect” on the intended audience, or that people will instantly recognize that the company has the best product or service. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
If companies want to share a message that truly resonates with its target audience, they need to develop a PR campaign that has a limited shelf-life (4 to 6 months). The campaign must be aligned with a specific industry issue or trend that would be of great interest to journalists who might decide to cover it. Of course, the issue/trend is tied directly to your product/service, which will help position your firm as an industry leader. You can employ various tactics to reinforce the message of the campaign, including a white paper, an authored article, media interviews, social media, speaking opportunities at industry events, and, of course, press releases.
To build and maintain a successful media relations program also requires taking the time to forge relationships with journalists who would most likely be interested in what your organization has to say. This would entail providing them with information that would be useful for their stories, though not necessarily benefiting your business. However, if they perceive you as a credible and valuable source of information, it’s highly likely they will one day use your comments in a story, or even include your organization to highlight a key trend or issue.
So when it comes to using PR as a way to create awareness of your product, service, issue or whatever, remember that the press release is just one tool in your PR toolbox.