Often, people come to us requesting a press release, as though it’s the magic pill that will launch them to success. Press releases certainly are fundamental elements of any public relations plan, but you may have some other legwork to complete before making a media announcement.
1. Clarify your goals
What is it that you want people to do after they read an article about your business? The answer to this question will be the basis of a call to action in your press release, and it will also drive all your other prep work. If your goal is too generic, like “build brand awareness,” you can use the 5 Whys tool. Ask yourself “Why?” five times, to drill down to the real purpose of your press release. From there, you should have a clear goal and specific call to action in mind.
2. Review process steps
Once you’ve determined exactly what you want to achieve with a press release, it’s time to look at every step of your expected outcome to make sure your systems and employees are prepared to respond appropriately.
Are you looking to drive online sales? Then you'd better make sure your e-commerce platform has been set up and tested and can handle an increase in volume. If you’re announcing a new product or service, employee training is a must.
Did you just announce a merger? Then consider what to do about each company’s web presence. You may wish to create a new website, redirect one firm’s site to the other’s, or create messaging on both sites that matches and tells visitors what to expect. In a merger situation, you may also need to update leader bios and About Us language. And don’t forget to let current clients know about the change before they read it about it in the paper.
3. Identify a spokesperson
A press release is an invitation for reporters to come calling, so you’ve got to know in advance who’s going to speak on behalf of the company. Make sure that person will be available to talk to reporters in the hours after the release goes out. You don’t want to time your big announcement while the designated speaker is attending a conference or on vacation! The spokesperson also needs to be prepared with a few key messages to convey during media interviews.
4. Prepare multi-media materials
Finally, consider what visual images could add to the story and make the reporter’s job easier. Depending on your goal and message, you may need things like professional photographs of a business leader or group, a video that demonstrates how to use your product, an infographic or comparison chart, etc. Stories with images and videos are more engaging to readers – and they help ensure your press release gets picked up in the news – so try to anticipate those needs and be prepared when it’s time to act on your public relations plan.
If you need help with public relations in the Chattanooga area, please contact us. We’d love to work with you and make sure you’re ready for your next announcement.