In the business world, a well-thought-out communications plan ensures important opportunities aren’t missed, messages are consistent and the focus of a campaign or announcement reaches its targeted audiences, ultimately building value for the company.
The communications landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years with the advent of digital outlets, social media channels, paid programs, etc. At Merryman Communications, we take a holistic approach to public relations (or PR) and communications, both proactive and reactive. Whether we are helping a client announce a milestone or event, mitigate a crisis or launch a new product, the Merryman team incorporates paid, earned, shared and owned tactics to create a measurable “surround sound” approach to achieving communications objectives.
Many use the acronym PR to refer to a press release, which is an important tactic but just one part of a broader communications strategy. In most cases, a press release (or news release) is an official way to make an announcement using a standard, well-accepted journalistic format. Releases issued by publicly traded companies must also meet federal disclosure requirements.
We take a holistic approach to public relations and communications, both proactive and reactive.
When we recommend a press release, we consider these key ingredients for success:
There are times when a client may not understand the importance of supporting an announcement by conducting outreach to target media outlets. “Isn’t issuing it on a news wire enough?” is a common question. The fact is, there are thousands of releases issued over wire services each day. While we always ensure that our wire lists are relevant to our industry and reach our targets, reporters still get overwhelmed and may miss an announcement. Once a press release is distributed over a wire service, it’s important to reach out to target media via email and phone to support the announcement and secure coverage.
At Merryman Communications, we don’t use cookie-cutter programs because every campaign, every piece of news and every client is different.
At Merryman Communications, we don’t use cookie-cutter programs because every campaign, every piece of news and every client is different. It’s important to assess the goals of the announcement when deciding the media approach and ensure that all the right pieces are in place to make it a success. While there are standard tactics that we use, there are also a variety of ways to maximize the announcement, including:
We find that there are many cases where a formal press release isn’t warranted to get a client’s messages out. There are often situations where a company can reach its target audience via a simple email pitch directly to media or an alert with supporting media outreach. We work with our clients to understand the goals of each announcement and – if a topic is trend-based, or a client wants to highlight a particular subject matter expert – the use of a paid or contributed (a.k.a. bylined) article may be a more effective approach.
Public relations is so much more than just its most popular (and familiar) tactic.
Recently, we compared the results of two similar announcements where one received media outreach support and another didn’t. The findings were not surprising to us but were definitely eye-opening to our clients.
In this situation, two medical device clients were announcing significant successes in financing rounds. For both, we issued their releases over Business Wire.
For Client A we issued the press release and conducted supporting media outreach, resulting in 52 articles/article pick-ups/e-newsletter inclusions/posts of the press release as a news story.
Client B, which had raised $20 million more than client A, only issued the press release via wire distribution and declined our recommendation to provide supporting media outreach. This resulted in just 16 articles/e-newsletter inclusions/posts of the press release as a news story.
This was a great real-life example of how supporting media outreach helped us achieve more significant coverage across business and trade publications vs. wire distribution alone.
In a nutshell, public relations is SO much more than just its most popular (and familiar) tactic. And, when a release is used, we rarely recommend it stand on its own. We counsel our clients to use the right tactics and tools to ensure the right people are being reached at the right time via the right channel.
A good public relations campaign is customized to effectively communicate an organization’s message to its intended audience. A good public relations partner will deliver objective and expert perspectives to provide that customization and ensure the right approach is deployed.
Something to think about the next time your organization needs to get the word out!