Posts tagged ‘press releases’

Are Press Releases Useful?

Every week, key company executives receive emails from their marketing and communications teams with press releases attached for review. No doubt these documents elicit groans at times. More than one managing partner or president has thought, “Do these things ever generate any business, or are we just spinning our wheels?” The question at prima facie is not unreasonable. After all, a lot of time goes into writing, editing and disseminating these documents.

While PR styles differ in many aspects, the press release itself tends to follow a fairly simple formula:

  • Headline – Factual introduction of release, needs to include firm name and (if applicable) name of individual involved.
  • Paragraph one – Who, what, where, when, how and why.
  • Paragraph two – Often a quote from senior company official offering commentary.
  • Body paragraph(s) – More explanation of the event/and or individual involved.
  • Issuer Description Who the issuing organization is and what they do.

In an ideal world, a press release clocks in at 300-500 words. Press releases have never been a vehicle designed for calling an organization “great” or “first-class.” They are fact-driven documents with a sliver of strategic commentary included via the quote. Every statement should be verifiable and direct.

The reason for this sort of rigidity is that different readers are looking for different things:

  • Media – They generally use only the information in paragraph one.
  • Alumni Organizations –They generally use paragraph one and school-specific information found in the body copy.
  • General Public – The entire release. This is why, while you shouldn’t expect the media to run the release’s quote, you should anticipate clients and potential clients will be reading it. Also, this is why both the body paragraph’s firm-specific portion and the release’s boilerplate content matter.

(It should be noted that releases for publicly traded companies that could materially affect a company are entirely different from those in discussion.)

But, who really reads this stuff?

Press releases, absent a compelling reason, are rarely read by the general public. However, when doing due diligence on an organization, they are essential vetting material. The value of a well-crafted, strategic press release may not manifest itself for months or years. Consider, however, the alternative wherein a firm de-values these sorts of communications. That firm’s website will provide a great deal less content, leading some to think that it either: a) is not being proactive in marketing the organization; or b) is a place where nothing seems to happen.


Press releases also serve a vital role in helping to keep an organization’s name in circulation, both with the public and the media. Being proactive about promoting partner elevations, office openings and expansions and awards garnered, keep a firm’s name in front of key editors and reporters. It is not uncommon for a press release to either: a) lead to a story about an organization; or b) see a new company member suddenly tapped by a reporter for commentary.

PR has changed a great deal since we first opened our doors 23 years ago. However, a core deliverable of the profession remains as valuable as ever. While certainly not as glamorous as being quoted in the New York Times, press releases are fundamental to an organization’s well-being and well worth the effort.

Michael Bond

November 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

Could I Get Some PR on my PR?

Please don’t expect PR on your PR.

Almost every profession has experienced the proliferation of lists and rankings.  Key trade publications, Web sites, bloggers and even dedicated, for-profit research and publishing companies are picking their “Top 10,” “Best of,” professionals “of the Year” and “Who’s Who.”

For PR folks, these lists are a great opportunity to showcase clients – writing solid nominations for those who have notable achievements within the survey’s designated timeframe and even exercising some creative writing abilities for those with achievements requiring more, um, explanation.

Upon delivery of the formal notification-of-inclusion letters, we get exclamation point-filled emails of thanks.  But, invariably, these communications include the knife-in-gut question, “What can we do to leverage this from a PR standpoint?” 

The fact is most publications have their own lists, so publishing the “news” about inclusion in another publication’s/blogger’s/Web site’s list is of no interest – or worse, proof that stroking your ego makes spamming journalists all right.  The people who may care and be impressed by your inclusion among the “Super Heroes of the Real Estate World” are your clients and potential clients (as well as good ol’ mom and your Facebook friends). 

Attention of this sort certainly gets additional attention, and the second or third nomination tends to be much more successful when you’ve secured inclusion on one listing.  These honors belong on biographies, link to and from them repeatedly, advertise them in print or in firm tweets, send announcements via direct mail or email, push them out to the Web world via your site, but please, please don’t expect PR on your PR.   

–         Traci Stuart

March 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Getting Ahead of the Media

A healthy respect for readers’ time will eventually separate the must-read, pushed content from the items that sit, unopened, in the in-box until they’re deleted due to old age.

Continue Reading February 23, 2010 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

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