PR campaign? Just send a press release.

Except that it’s not as simple as that. In fact, is sending a one-off press release ever a good idea?

In general, no. You wouldn’t expect a single tweet from a Twitter account with no followers to gain much traction. Well, neither will a PR campaign that consists of a single press release (or a sporadic series of releases) sent to journalists who have never heard of you or your company. Even if you use a wire service the best you can hope for is that your news will be posted on a few obscure news sites.

Unless, of course, the subject really is breaking news. But then you need to be engaging more directly with the media anyway.

Journalists and news sites receive thousands of releases every day. In sifting through that digital mountain, they are only likely to pick out stories from sources they already know and trust not to waste their time. Effective press campaigns depend on building relationships with editors, and that can’t be done overnight.

That said, every PR programme has to start somewhere. A targeted release, followed up promptly and individually, can serve as an introduction to the key publications you want to reach. It’s far better to send your release to one editor with whom you have established a rapport than issuing it indiscriminately. (See our Acorns press release package for an example of how limited distribution can achieve results).

Having sent your release, make sure you follow it up with another – soon. Just as an active social media presence conveys the impression of a dynamic, engaged organisation, so does a series of frequent news updates.

Now you have introduced yourself, you need to continue the conversation. And that’s really what a PR campaign is.

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