This week alone, I have received two press releases from two different organizations that make clear businesses don’t understand press releases.
Both came in the form of emails, the most recent one this morning.
The six-line headline of today’s release proudly announced the organization had earned a certain re-certification that had nothing to do with its products, services or customers. Put simply, it wasn’t newsworthy by any measure and, as such, had the unintended effect of reminding people like me to unsubscribe. I, the intended audience, could find no value or call to action in the message.
Sadly, this is a trend I am seeing more often. Companies large and small are firing off emails labeled as press releases to convey marketing messages that have little or no news value. As media outlets become more stratified, organizations are struggling to keep pace and employing a range of tactics to get their messages out. These ill-conceived press release emails run the risk of alienating all intended audiences: consumers, journalists and even stray PR professionals clearly added in error to email databases.
Anyone can write something and call it a press release. Anyone can send an email and call it news. Seriously… anyone.
Why ‘Anyone’ Handling PR Won’t Do
Businesses employ trained PR professionals for good reason. Most often and importantly these business communications professionals are there to ensure messaging is appropriate and generates value for an organization.
A skilled and experienced PR professional will ensure press releases have genuine news value to the recipient and the intended audience. Knowledgeable PR professionals work diligently to ensure press releases are precise, focused and targeted. Really good PR professionals will have the tact and professionalism to note when news value in a company’s messaging is lacking and must be addressed. In doing so, the experience, skill and thoughtful tactics employed via public relations professionals ensures the reputation of the businesses or brands in question are protected.
By winging it, as the organizations I’m now familiar with have done, they have demonstrated they don’t understand their audience, their messaging isn’t focused and they are employing a “spray-and-pray” tactic that has rarely worked in the past.
They’ve also managed to turn me, and those like me, away from their brands. All it took to do so was one so-called press release.