A recent article by Ragan Communications and PollStream about the effectiveness of PR got me thinking about how companies can get past the PR and communication disillusionment and clutter and get themselves noticed. While the study measured a lot of things, I was particularly intrigued by the following findings:
- Only 49% of today’s professional communicators say they think press releases are “as useful as ever.”
- Nearly half (45%) don’t see releases as relevant as they once were because of the growth of social media and the ability to target reporters and editors in more personalized, direct ways.
- About one-quarter blame the waning interest in the press releases on the demand for a more trustworthy and/or engaging information source (23%) and the decline of the newspaper and magazine industry (24%).
Having a well-defined PR strategy is important for any company, regardless of company size or company purpose. In fact, a recent study reported by Vocus showed that 64% of PR and Marketing Professionals polled believe that PR will become increasingly important in the overall marketing mix in 2010 (Strong, F. (2009). PR Planning 2010 Survey Results).
Okay, so you want to have more relevant press releases, but what would resonate? How about using all that market research data you have? Companies like EMPLOYERS® are creating meaningful and relevant press releases by combining their small business expertise with data they collected on small business decision-makers.
So how do you do it if you don’t have stores of market research data? The quickest and most cost-effective way is to buy into/add questions on an omnibus study, like the CARAVANs offered by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC). They are quick, easy and relatively inexpensive.
So now that you have a vehicle, what do you ask about? Realistically, it depends on your target audience. But, your questions have to resonate with that audience. If you are a company that targets Gen Y, then you need to research topics in the news that would resonate. Once you have the topic you want to explore, think long and hard about the three or so questions you would ask to explore the topic; then write your questions.
Once you have the results, you write the press release. That is easier said than done, but after a few tries you will get the hang of it. After you have vetted the press release with the market research company doing the research, you then need to strategically release the data so that it will reach your audience. Don’t forget to release your data through social media! It’s free and it’s viral!
So at the end of the day, PR doesn’t have to be boring or irrelevant. It’s what you make it for your company.