4 alternatives to a press release

As many members of the media turn away from traditional models for sourcing stories, how can PR pros reach them? Try these tactics instead.

Are you still relying on a press release to do your heavy lifting?

You’re sitting in a conference room talking about an announcement your company needs to make, you say, “We need a press release!” Wheels are set in motion, someone on the team takes on the assignment, and now your team is crafting something to send to media before you’ve even decided if it’s the right approach.

News releases were once the go-to tool for PR professionals needing to share news about their client or organization. In today’s media landscape though, things have changed. News releases still have a role, but they aren’t always the best method for getting the word out.

Getting someone in a newsroom to read an entire news release is a tall order. Plus, those people in the newsroom might not be your target audience. You need to customize your message – and the way you deliver it – in a way that really works for the story you’re trying to tell.

Here are some examples of what you can do instead of a press release to get your news out:

1. A well-crafted blog post

News releases follow a factual, news format. That’s great for journalists, but not the most exciting piece of content for other audiences. Blogs, however, can be much more conversational and reflect your organization’s brand. They are also a great way to link to related content on your site for folks to learn more about your business.

2. Infographics

Have a lot of data to share? Maybe you’re better off investing your resources to develop an infographic to explain your news. According to Graphs.net, searches for infographics increased 800 percent between 2010 and 2012—and there’s no doubt that number has only gone up since then.

3. A video message

Between smartphones, tablets and computers, consumers are watching more video than ever before. A well-shot video message not only can quickly explain your announcement in a way that’s quick and easy for your customers, it’s also a great way for your CEO or other spokespeople to get on-camera experience in a comfortable setting.

4. A simple pitch or media advisory

If the media is your target, sometimes you don’t need a full press release. A short and relevant pitch is what most reporters prefer. Do yourself a favor and save the time writing a release and do some necessary research on your media list. Your newsroom contacts will likely be appreciative you took the time to reach out to the right person.

While news releases still have their place, businesses no longer need to maintain such formal standards when making an announcement. The key is knowing your audience and how they prefer to receive news about your company—and being flexible to change things up from time to time.

Megan Irvin, APR works for the Hodges Partnership, a full-service PR firm based in Virginia. A version of this article originally appeared on the Gong blog.

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