It’s always a great feeling to see your company’s name out there, whether that’s in a news story in the local press, or featured as an expert on a respected industry website. However, just as with all aspects of marketing, when time is short and budgets are tight, your PR activity must be designed with a return on investment in mind.
Press releases and articles are two very distinct areas and the medium you choose will depend on what you have to say, why you are saying it and who you are saying it to.
Read on to make sure you’re clear on which is the best option for you and your business in the different scenarios you are likely to encounter when thinking about publicising your business.
When to write a press release
Deciding when to write a press release is easy. Press releases are a great way to announce an important piece of news about your business. These can include:
- An event, such as a celebration of a milestone
- The launch of a new product or service
- Winning an industry accolade or award
- A new initiative such as a charity partnership
- Expansion, new premises or the appointment of key personnel
Knowing how to write a press release can be less simple. Understandably you will be excited about your news and keen to share as much detail as possible. However, making a press release too ‘salesy’ or cluttering it with lots of irrelevant information about your company is a no-no. Press releases should be clear, concise and focused on the topic in hand, something that can be harder to achieve than it sounds. To find out more about how to write an effective press release, read our useful guide.
When to write an article
Writing articles is a great way to publicise your business and establish you as an authority in your field. Rather than announcing one specific piece of news, articles are an opportunity to explore a subject in greater depth in order to give readers useful and relevant information. Most trade publications actively welcome relevant, well-thought-out article submissions from professionals within their industry. You can get started by following these steps:
- Identify the publications you’d like to appear in; these are often trade publications for your industry and/or local publications for stories that are not about a niche subject.
- Read your target publications to get familiar with their tone and find out what subjects they publish stories on.
- Find out if your target publication publishes a features list; many trade magazines make a list of planned themes for the coming months to make available to those who would like to submit ideas.
Next, all you have to do is think of an idea! This could be anything from a ‘top tips’ article based on a training workshop you are running, to a feature based on a recent news story in your industry. For example, a lettings agent might submit an article to a trade publication giving expert analysis and practical advice about changes to the law regarding renting out properties as a private landlord. Your article pitch should succinctly summarise who you are and what you would like to cover in your article – an editor can always ask you for more information if they require it.
Again, any article that is too ‘salesy’ will not make it into the public domain, so mentioning your product or company over and over again is a strategy doomed to failure. Also, remember not to give away all your secrets; going back to the ‘top tips’ idea, the aim is to pique people’s interest in finding out more, not to give away all your expertise for free!
What’s the point of press releases and articles if I can’t use them as a sales pitch?
This is a good question and one that often crops up at the Ideal Marketing Company when we talk to clients. While it’s true that more traditional methods of marketing such as PR are harder to measure than digital marketing techniques which can be backed up by cold, hard data, press releases and articles can still be incredibly valuable for a range of reasons including:
- The kudos of your name appearing in a news story or as an expert in a trusted publication can boost your reputation with the people who matter – your potential customers.
- Although editors don’t permit sales copy, they will often publish a link to your website. This can be doubly beneficial if the article appears online as you will benefit from an SEO perspective from the link back to your website.
- Press releases and articles can be an extremely cost-effective option.
- While press releases and articles can’t take a ‘hard sell’ approach, recommendation or validation in the right publication can be a subtle yet effective way to gain new customers. After all, who would you call first; a kitchen company with editorial coverage in a local lifestyle magazine or one who had chosen to advertise in the same publication?
Where do blogs fit in?
A modern marketing mantra is that blogs are essential for the success of your website. This thinking comes first and foremost from an SEO perspective, as by adding fresh and relevant content that your clients are actively looking for will help you climb those all-important search engine rankings. However, as most people are aware, these days simply stuffing your website full of keywords is not enough.
Many small and medium-sized businesses work from a monthly blog plan. For example, writing and uploading around three relevant stories a month is a great way to maintain or boost your search engine rankings and provide engaging content for your customers.
As a general rule of thumb, the bulk of your blog content will come from stories or events that while interesting, don’t warrant a full-blown press release or article pitch. However, after your press release is written or your article has been published, it is always worth adapting it for your blog as it’s a great way of expanding the reach of the content you have created. For easy tips on blogging, check out our guide.
PR for small and medium-sized businesses
As a full-service marketing agency, PR is at the heart of what we do at the Ideal Marketing Company. To discuss this, or any aspect of our marketing services, please call us on 01858 44 55 43 or fill in our contact form.
Louise is an experienced and versatile copywriter whose passion is bringing any subject to life through the written word. She thrives on using her imaginative approach to identify and implement exciting PR opportunities for clients. A career spent coming up with creative content for tight deadlines in consumer magazine journalism and PR means Louise doesn’t know the meaning of the term ‘writer’s block!’