Sunday, December 26, 2010

Utilising press releases

It is always amusing when companies are frustrated by the media’s lack of interest in their organisation, or their lack of brand awareness, when they don’t even implement a simple PR strategy. With the advent of online communication channels, there is now no excuse for avoiding PR.

Here are some tips to increase brand awareness in Thailand by utilizing PR strategies.

1) Submit press releases that are INTERESTING!
Your press release must be newsworthy! A press release that provides nothing of genuine interest for the reader is never going to attract attention. Think about your audience, not just about what you want to write about.

2) Keep Your PR Tools Up-To-Date
The basic tools for being reporter friendly are: well-written news releases, media/press kit (both online and hardcopy), fact sheets and Q&A documents, backgrounders and history documents, bios of key employees, milestone recap and related timeline, photography (high resolution required for print reproduction), and technical documents such as white papers and case studies. The more information you are able to provide an interested reporter, the more likely your encounter will result in thorough, accurate and engaging coverage.

3) Utilize Newswire Services
Newswires – effectively selected, written and timed – turn up the volume on your media announcement. Specialized dissemination services -- such as PR Newswire, Business Wire, PR Web, and PR Leap – can give your news release added exposure to both the media and potential customers searching the Internet for your products or services as the release remains posted online. Additionally, and provide free online press release posting.

Make sure that any online press release clearly links back to your website!

4) Become Skilled At E-mail Campaigns
E-mail is, on the whole, the most preferred form of communication for reaching the news media. Where do you get the e-mail addresses? Check the contact section of the media outlet’s website.

5) Make Use Of Leads Services
The leads service is a special PR tool that allows reporters on deadline to reach out to companies and individuals for information and interviews. Examples of these services, available by subscription, are PR Newswire’s ProfNet and PRSourceCode. Here’s an example of a recent Profnet Query: “I am writing a story for a national business publication roughly titled 'Sales 2.0.' The article looks at how some of the new tools such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and other Web 2.0 tech stuff are changing the way companies prospect for sales, contact and woo sales, close sales, and then keep customers happy. I am only interested in talking to small and medium-sized businesses (with 1,000 employees or less).”

6) Share Your Expertise Via Articles
Bylined articles, like you’re reading now, are when you write articles for the print media (usually at the invitation of the editor) about your area of expertise. Opportunities can range from a 250-word squib to a 2,000-word feature. A short paragraph at the end of the article usually recaps the author’s credentials, explains his/her company or organization title and affiliation, and provides the reader with website contact information.

7) Win Awards To Attract Attention
Receipt of an industry or community award is a legitimate news hook that can help attract the attention of editors and reporters and ultimately gain valuable media exposure. The focus of the award gives the recipient a reason to expand on the particular topic by providing additional information and related photography. Quite frequently, the prestige of receiving one or several industry awards offers the “awareness lift” necessary to secure a profile or full feature about your company or organization.

A skilled practitioner can assist you with your PR initiative and help you understand the many tactics available to you.

Happy awareness building of your brand!

Written by Ben Henderson
Edited by Stuart Blott, General Manager, Sutlet Group

Adapted from Maggie Chamberlin Holben’s article, founder of Denver-based Absolutely Public Relations