I just want to cover a bit about press releases, why we don't do them as everyone else does, and also what a press kit is, because that's not the same thing and I feel like maybe some people don't know that. So here goes.
Public relations covers a good number of things, but the one thing people get hung up on, is media relations. That's the bit where you tell a journalist about the thing going on in your business in the hope they'll want to investigate, write about it in their own words and publish it in their newspaper. We've written about this before, but "business wins business and is happy about it" does not make a news story, nor does 95% of what's happening at work for you. That doesn't mean you should scrap your story idea completely, you just need to find the right home for it and there is a home for every single story idea - so don't fret.
Generally speaking, we don't bother with press releases in the fashion you know them as. It is much quicker for us and fewer $$ for our clients to spend, if we summarise a story idea in a sentence or two and use that to pitch a journalist.
A press kit on the other hand, is very useful. It's what you put together for a journalist who has requested one, i.e. they are interested in your story idea, and they now need a bit more information, examples, and contacts of people to speak with.
A press kit could have official quotes from subject matter experts that might be too hard to reach for a direct on the record quote to the journalist. The kit might have images of the people concerned, videos and other content. It doesn't have to be packaged up in a pretty bow, but it will be a source of information to help the journalist do their job.
The other thing about press kits is that they can be time consuming to put together, particularly a good, useful one, and this time needs to be considered. If you pitch a story to a journalist and they are interested, you don't have very long to get the information together for that journalist. On the flip side, there's very little point building a hub of resource and information for no one in the newsroom because they don't want to run your story.
Lastly, if you are still pretty keen on that press release, or you've managed to narrow it down to a a much briefer pitch, consider where you'll send that email. If you've got more than one journalist from a news organisation to send your email to, choose the best person who is most likely to be interested and scrap the rest. Here's why.
If you were given a project at the same time as three other people in your business and you all go about working on this project, only learning after an hour that four of you were doing the same job, it'd be a bit annoying, right? Same for journalists and newsrooms. Frustrating, right?
David has written about why press releases are a waste of time, and he even guest-lectured at Massey University to the PR students about why you don't need to bother with releases anymore. Time willing, go on and read that blog too, it's very good.
Lou Draper is Managing Partner of Draper Cormack Group and a public relations veteran. Originally from Auckland, she is now living, working and breathing public relations, personal brand and content curation in Wellington City.