The news release is still a part of what we, as communicators, use. It is a tool in our tool belt. How we use it has changed, however. That means that how we develop a news release has had to evolve as well.
There has been a great deal of talk about the social media news release over the years since it was first introduced in 2006. This is a release that may include podcasts, video, images, links, and contact information for potential interviews, among other components.
At AHA, we connect with journalists on a regular basis. We often take the time to reach out to journalists and ask them a few quick questions so that we provide them with information in the way they want to receive it. In our conversations we ask them what we can do better, how they want to get information, what they want to know. Sometimes these questions are in relation to a specific client, sometimes to how technology has changed PR, and sometimes it’s just a quick chat that happens when we’re talking about something else. It’s always very valuable to us.
It used to be that a news release was developed specifically to get the attention of the media. The readership of a news release was the media outlets/journalists you had on your database. Now, while journalists are still very important, a news release has more uses. It is put up on a client’s website, it gets uploaded to online sites for search engine optimization, it is shared internally, and it is shared with external stakeholders. Depending on the information, a link may be tweeted (and hopefully retweeted), you may upload it or part of it to Facebook or discuss it in a blog. It has a much larger readership—including the public.
The use of a news release has changed drastically. That means that how we develop a news release has had to evolve for it to be a useful tool. Writing a release with SEO in mind is important. Depending on the client and the subject, adding a video or podcast might be of value to showcase additional expertise, to put a human face or voice to a subject or announcement.
A news release can be a valuable tool if used properly. Understanding the different groups that you want to connect with by using a news release is the first step. Think about that for a moment. Who are the different groups that you would work with…how does that change how you would develop your release?