It’s fair to say that budgets are tight at the moment across all sectors, and in-house teams are being asked to do more with less. Start-ups in particular must navigate where they invest their resources to make a name for themselves, and what can be done ‘on a shoestring.’
This often means that the value of PR is miscalculated.
Press releases are often the first item to be brought in-house (or even put through an AI machine). Distribution can be a wire service rather than a bespoke and targeted approach. To justify the large fees often associated with wire distribution, volume over quality is sold. No tailored pitches or 1:1 follow ups are allowed for.
If you’re in-house at an organization that is trying to squeeze the communications purse strings, here are 5 things to remember when planning and budgeting for press releases:
To have the best chance of reaching your target audience, you need a compelling story that clearly demonstrates the WHY. AI doesn’t yet allow for nuance, and at best generates mediocre content. Is whoever writing your release best placed to understand your business objectives, and are they able to translate this into a compelling news story?
What is the purpose of the release? Which business objectives is it supporting? No press release should be drafted and distributed if it doesn’t clearly meet a business objective. When this isn’t obvious, it is a waste of resources that could be better put on hold or used elsewhere.
Think you don’t have news? While a release that doesn’t meet business objectives isn’t a worthwhile investment, there is a lot more happening within your organization that will be of interest and relevant to certain market sectors. Are you making sure that you are mining these stories and keeping up the momentum?
Who do you want to see it and why? When investing in press release distribution, it’s important to prioritize the quality of coverage rather than quantity. Does whoever is managing distribution understand your sector and who your key targets are?
Is there the possibility of exploring other opportunities for the brand? Press releases can be a good way to get in front of publications and secure bylines and briefings. Will whoever distributes your release invest in targeted follow ups to secure value ads such as byline opportunities or executive briefings? Or is their measurement target based on the number of hits alone?
Press releases are the foundation of any communications plan. They not only allow brands to shape their stories, but also create a valuable online footprint that supports the sales team. When valuable resources are allocated to them, make sure opportunities are maximized to get the optimum return on your investment.
A tailored and measured approach is far more likely to get you into the publications that your target audience is reading. The quality of the coverage secured, rather than the numbers, should be prioritized.
Lucia Barbato is director and co-founder of Ilex Content Strategies.