Ugh, your competitor got yet another press release printed in your local newspaper. You’ve been trying to get one in for months to no avail. Even worse, you’re pretty sure you put out a press release much like the one that just got printed. What’s the deal?
Rather than get mad, though, you should be closely inspecting each of your competitors’ press releases they manage to get into print. This is because there are plenty of lessons you can take away from someone else’s success, especially your direct competition. Here are some things to look out for.
What You’re Doing Wrong
Hey, like it or not, there’s a reason your hated rival is smiling when she reads the morning newspaper, while you’re not. They did something you didn’t: figured out what the publication is looking for. Not just figured out what they thought the public wants to see – they cracked the reporter’s code.
Each reporter wants something out of press releases. They could be looking for a great local story, or filler for a certain page they need to layout, or any other number of things. You’ll never know what these things are unless you talk to the reporter – which is what your competitors likely did.
This is why it’s important to do research and put in the work ahead of time. Your competitor could’ve simply learned the reporter at The Local Times wanted a local angle and wrote it that way. Suddenly they’re in the paper and you’re not.
Their Campaign Ideas
As PR pros we know how the industry rolls. Sometimes there’s a little bit more to a press release than just making an announcement. It’s all part of a bigger plan that will hopefully bring success to your company and keep everyone employed.
As insiders you can probably ascertain things others can’t. For example, the language in the press release might tell you what they’re up to. If they go out of their way to talk about how “family friendly” their new product is, you can safely assume that’s the direction they’re heading.
It’s not by accident, and it’s worth paying attention to. Partly because you should see if it works, but also in case you were planning on something similar. Even if you thought of it first, it could look like you’re jumping on their coattails.
The big tip about writing is: if you want to learn how to write, read. This goes for everything from short stories to blogs and, yes, press releases. If you’re still struggling to figure out what to write for your own releases then your competitors’ pieces could offer advice.
What angle did they shoot for? What language did they use? How long was it? How long were the paragraphs, and how many sentences were in each one? While you may have written several releases in the past, that doesn’t mean they’ll work the same with this particular newspaper or magazine. Analyze the press release to see what you can pull and learn from it. Soon your rivals will be the one smacking their foreheads and shaking their fists in your direction!
Do you regularly read your competitors’ press releases?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/8shockingsecrets.html