News releases or blog posts: What is the future of media relations?
In starting work with a new start-up client recently, the question came up: Do we really need news releases? Couldn’t we just share news on our blog instead? Isn’t that more efficient and effective–especially for a smaller business?
It’s a good question and one all small, mid-sized and large businesses should be considering.
And the answer was more obvious than I thought for this particular client situation.
The blog route was clearyl the way to go–and my client agreed with me. Here’s why I made the suggestion–and why maybe you should start considering the approach:
More story–less “news release”
Does anyone like to read news releases? Even journalists? I realize the point is to get media the news and information they need to report and “cover” whatever news it is you are sharing. But, isn’t it also about the story you’re trying to tell? Doesn’t a blog post make it a bit easier to tell that story?
Easier to incorporate visuals
Embedding visuals–photos and videos–is much easier to do in a “blog post” than it is in a hard copy or even web-based news release. For anyone who’s operated in WordPress, you know it’s just a few simple clicks and voila–your visual is embedded. With web-based systems, it can sometimes be a little tougher. And, keep in mind, sometimes that also requires you to go through your Web team, which is a pointless process with the technology (like WordPress) now available to you as PR teams. And, for smaller clients, it’s just a much easier CMS to work within.
Forces you to shorten your pitches
This is one of the bigger payoffs, in my view. With a traditional news release, you’re pitching the reporter and sending the entire news release, right? Or, an attachment, which is worse. If you were using a blog to share your news, your pitch could be a short paragraph long with a link to the post for more details/visuals. Isn’t that what journalists always want? Shorter pitches? It’s a win-win. They get shorter pitches which are easier/faster to sift through. And you get to link them directly to your blog/newsroom where they can get all sorts of information about your company, product or service.
Easier to share online
Sure, online web-based newsrooms could do that same thing. But judging from those I’ve seen, they don’t. With a blog, it’s uber-easy to add social share buttons right at the top of the story/post. Make it easy to share–remember, these posts will serve as more than “news releases”. They’re also stories that are meant to be shared by employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Measurement is easier, too
This might be the biggest benefit of all. By using a blog as the home base for your news, you can track every unique visitor, every page view, every eyeball via Google Analytics (or other blog/web monitoring software). And, in a day and age when clients/companies are asking for more metrics and data on their PR efforts, isn’t this worth it alone?
Note: Photo courtesy of Hamed Saber via FlickR Creative Commons.