Is it possible to write a press release in 15 minutes? That’s what the
marketing chief at my first PR job seemed to think when he told me to
run along and write up the first draft of a partner announcement he had
just briefed me on.
Surely it’s possible, but how effective is that press release going to be? In addition to technique, a press release requires research. No matter how much research the marketing department may have done, there’s always a need for market context around specific announcements.
Each release will have to stand up to intense scrutiny. In the tech world, the audience is well-informed, but they are busy. They won’t have time to extrapolate what “might” be relevant to them if it is not clearly spelled out.
Think about your news from their perspective. Whether they are journalists or industry analysts, they are writing or advising others of the latest trends and best buys, and they will sound the first siren if anything is wrong. What is the customer pain point and how does your product help?
Today’s Web access means that customers are as likely to see your press release as are the press who used to be the only point of access to the public (whether through PR, advertising or self-publishing). Anyone who has access to the Internet can receive press releases directly through RSS feeds and other channels.
A release should contribute to industry discussion. If it doesn’t offer something more than the company’s news, and speak directly to the intended audience — telling them why they should care — it probably won’t achieve its purpose.
To my former boss: “The 15 minute press release is a myth!”