I was told at a recent marketing seminar that newspapers will no longer accept press releases due to space constraints. Comment?
Marketers Sell Marketing, Not PR
In the same way that a surgeon solves most health problems with a scalpel, most marketers solve problems through marketing, not PR. If I was holding a marketing seminar, I would say the exact same thing. As a general rule marketers don’t like the media and vice-versa. Marketers like to control everything: the message, the design, and the medium. They like to know that a four-color ad placement will appear on the back cover of a particular issue of a publication. When you send out a press release, you have no control of the message. The media can look behind the announcement and publish an unflattering story or spin on your message. That drives marketers crazy, not to mention most PR firms.
Dollar for Dollar, PR Trumps Advertising
However, here’s the bottom line: dollar for dollar, you will never match the payoff a newsworthy press release can create when compared to advertising or marketing dollars. Four to six press releases at a cost of under $4,000 can routinely create the equivalent ad space within a trade publication and single newspaper that would cost $20,000 or more. These aren’t inflated numbers: a single trade publication and a single newspaper from four to six press releases isn’t a stretch if the press release is indeed newsworthy, and properly distributed to the media.
PR Builds Credibility
Potential clients and existing customers, not to mention vendors / partners, trust what is in print — except when it comes to advertising. By getting in print, you establish credibility that greatly exceeds a paid marketing message.
Journalists Welcome Targeted Press Releases
Back to your question as to whether newspapers will no longer accept press releases. This is absolutely false. Never before have newspapers been willing to have as much news come directly to them as today. Why? Writing staff are overworked and overwhelmed. Layoffs have fewer journalists creating more stories. They welcome targeted stories that make their job easier.
Know the Rules
Because journalists are overworked and overwhelmed, there are limited pathways to reach newspapers with your press release. If you are using a free or low-cost press release distribution company, you are paying for your press release to be posted on a website. That’s it. Despite anything else you read or hear, journalists are not going to find stories at these websites. Why? A large proportion of the press releases on these sites are not newsworthy and are written in a marketing style that turns off the media.
Press Release Spam
Journalists aren’t interested in press release spam. Buying a media database and distributing the press release yourself will yield little response (and might find your company’s emails being permanently filtered to the trash or spam folder). eReleases only emails subscribing journalists. Our database is small but select. Targeting your message to the proper journalists is the hardest part of the battle.
Because journalists are overworked, they often visit just one or two sources of press releases. As a result, they go to the largest source of newsworthy press releases: PR Newswire. PR Newswire is the oldest and largest newswire of press releases. Every press release distributed by eReleases is also distributed over PR Newswire, including industry targeting.
What About Space Constraints?
The more space a newspaper produces, the more advertising they can sell, including remnant ad space. While newspapers are suffering from a lack of premium advertisers, most have a backlog of advertisers willing to take remnant ad space at a huge discount. Look at your local newspaper. I’m seeing more ads on single pages and less content. This tells me newspapers are suffering from a lack of content, not a surplus of content. A well-written, newsworthy press release stands a greater chance of pickup right now. My customers are finding it easier, not harder to get media pickup despite the economy.
Beware the Messenger
I am not surprised that a marketing seminar would focus on marketing and disparage press releases. Before accepting any advice, consider the motives of the speaker. Someone selling / promoting marketing is going to focus on marketing as the answer. However, I sell press release services so I would ask you to take the same advice and question my motives as well. I ask you to take a look at my customers, the press releases on my website, as well as the many success stories on my website: http://www.ereleases.com/testimonials/ . I think my message and the evidence I provide will stand the ultimate test of time.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.