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The press release is one of the more traditional marketing tools employed by businesspersons and entrepreneurs. It’s a tool aimed at (hopefully) garnering media attention for a specific event, product, or service. Sadly, in the age of technology, some establishments no longer see the value of writing press releases that will have to compete with the avalanche of information and opinion crowding the Internet.
However, writing press releases for traditional tri-media (print, radio and TV) is still relevant today even if instant and multi-platform publication options are already available. The thing is, writers also need to adapt their articles for the consumption of an online media audience. In this instance, a PR campaign would be more effective. So how, exactly, can a marketer accomplish this?
Adapt your PR to Web 2.0 platforms
1. Use SEO techniques
Before the development and wide adoption of Web 2.0 platforms, like WordPress and various types of social media sites, publishing online was expensive and required technical know-how. These days, there are so many ways you can reach out to your audience and vice-versa. So your PR article should be adapted for cross-platform publications online. Here are a few ways to do it:
- If you are publishing it on your own website, optimize the article for search engines.
- Research and use relevant keywords.
- Use proper formatting that is easy-to-read, even on mobile devices.
2. Hire independent content publishers
Most websites that existed from the 1990s to the early 2000s were static, one-way digital publications that did not have interactive features. A website content writer or provider of copywriting services back then was generally understood as a company employee rather than an independent content publisher.
All of that changed with the introduction of freemium Web 2.0 services.
Ordinary individuals who did not even know how to code in basic HTML suddenly became website operators and online content publishers. This is why these days, you may hire popular individual content publishers to publish or cover your PR.
3. Use formats other than text-based content
You may re-tailor your PR and convert it into infographics, videos, and podcasts to reach specific audience segments. This tactic also widens the net of the audience that you may reach.
Reaching a wider audience through digital means is conceptually easier because content can be accessed worldwide. Videos, blogs, infographics, articles, and social media posts are generally available into perpetuity and on-demand, as long as the websites that feature them continue to exist.
4. Maximize social media and paid ads
Posting on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels where you already have a good number of followers is one way of effectively promoting your PR content.
You may first post content on your own website and then cross-post (via a link) on different social media forums that already have a significant number of followers. All this can be done free-of-charge, but keep in mind that doing this requires a bit of strategy and a lot of effort.
On the other hand, if you do not have sufficient time and manpower to start a full blast social media campaign, you can turn to paid targeted ads offered by Facebook and Google. This way, you can set a budget, decide on the duration of your campaign, and get valuable data for analysis.
Appeal to journalistic interest
5. Make it newsworthy
When you are writing a PR article, it must be newsworthy enough so that journalists will be enticed to report about it. Your article should not be a purely promotional piece but something that has social relevance.
For example, a PR article about the IPO of a start-up company is something that journalists assigned to the financial and economic beat will be interested to cover. An entrepreneurial success story is always of human interest, so the media would most likely be interested to pick it up, and perhaps even do an in-depth story about it.
6. Ensure it is timely
You may also reach out to various traditional media outlets but do not expect that all of them will be interested. One tip to increase your chances of getting noticed: keep your piece relevant to the times.
For example, if the current trend in your sector is about integrating cryptocurrency in business operations, you may write a PR piece that talks about how your business will be impacted by this change.
7. Combine the traditional with the digital
To get the maximum effect, you may simultaneously use both digital and traditional platforms for PR-related material. In many cases, appealing to traditional media will also give you the opportunity to have additional online exposure.
Traditional tri-media have a well-established audience and they have more credibility than most user-generated media, such as personal YouTube channels. These media companies also have a wider reach than independent user-generated media because many traditional media outlets also have their own online extensions in various platforms.
Be updated about industry standards
Whether you are a freelance writer or a company founder and CEO, you must be updated when it comes to industry standards, especially when it comes to rates. For writers, this ensures that you don’t get underpaid. For companies, knowing what to pay for copywriting services increases your chance of hiring the best writers in the market.
Whatever business you may be in, and whether or not you personally take care of writing your press releases, having a good understanding of both traditional and digital PR platforms paired with a well-thought-out strategy and good quality content means you can have the “best of all worlds.”
Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.