For many people who are not in the PR industry, there's a common assumption that the acronym PR means press release.
Shocking? I hope not.
Public Relations (PR) encompasses every facet of communication with your key audiences - this could be investors, consumers, partners, customers, and more. Since its inception, the press release has been known to be a great vehicle to quickly and effectively share information about an event, product or campaign - any situation in which the same type of information needs to hit all of your audiences. But the press release is, in fact, just one tiny part of a much larger, holistic communications strategy.
While press releases are great for casting a wide net with news announcements, it's the steady drum beat of relationship-building opportunities in between that really matter. Some even question whether the press release is still a relevant tactic. In many instances it is, but it's also worth remembering that expert commentary from your executives and keeping your company's point of view out in the public's eye should be an always-on effort. Because these are the kinds of stories that are more likely to keep your audiences engaged and your brand top of mind, sometime more than news alone. Here's why:
- Third-Party Validation: Just like with anything we trust from a third-party source, such as customer reviews on Yelp or Expedia, generating earned media coverage is an essential part of your PR. With the right angle, content, relationship and timing, this powerful third-party validation can often be achieved without need for a press release.
- Constant Engagement with your Audiences: You need to be sure that your PR program encourages your audiences to keep coming back for more. For consumer-oriented brands, this could be rewards and contests or in the B2B space, expert advice - like how to keep data secure - and other educational content works well and adds value and momentum, beyond the news cycle of an individual press release.
In the end, the press release alone is not the key to success for your communications strategy. There are many other strategies and tactics that work just as well, if not better, to tell your stories in a compelling way and reach your target audiences. But, when the time, reason and content is right for a press release, be sure to write one your key audiences will actually read.