Press releases. Just the term itself can spark debate among PR pros.
Are they dead or alive? Why do we still need them? Can’t we move on from press releases? Isn’t there a better way to achieve our PR goals?
Press releases are still useful, but they might not always be the best fit.
Here are eight alternatives:
1. Send only a pitch.
A client might come to you with a news item. Though you may see its value to a few selected publications, it might be best to advise the client that it doesn’t warrant a press release.
Instead, write a pitch and send it to reporters who might want the story. You can target it more precisely and achieve better results.
2. Pitch the idea as a contributed article.
Maybe the story is more of an opinion or a take on an industry trend. In that case, why not craft a contributed article abstract that can be pitched to industry publications? They’re often looking for pieces to fill their pages.
Once it’s published, you can post it on your site and on social media and share it with your email subscribers or in your newsletter, getting even more bang for the buck.
3. Offer an exclusive.
If you’ve built a relationship with a reporter you feel would do the story justice, you can offer the story as an exclusive.
Here’s an example: I once worked with an entrepreneur who had a unique invention, but he didn’t have a lot of money for marketing and PR.
Instead, we worked with an Associated Press reporter from our local bureau who loved getting an exclusive. Once he wrote a story, it would go to all the AP bureaus. (AP has more than 200 bureaus in 100 countries.)
This achieved our PR goals—and then some. Each time we had an announcement, we would contact him first. The story would go international, no press release required.
4. Try video.
Videos are all the rage and are increasing in popularity. Over 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day.
So why not try making a quick video piece to get the story out? It can be shared on your site, on social media and even in your newsletter or as an email blast to your subscribers.
There are cases when you’ve pitched a story, only to hear crickets. In those situations, self-publishing can save the day. Write a blog post, and share it on social media. It gets the news out.
Platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn also enable you to self-publish articles.
6. Share it in your newsletter.
Perhaps the news might make a good story for your newsletter. That way, everyone who subscribes to your email list will see it and, with luck, share it. You can repurpose contributed articles here, too. (See No. 2.)
7. Create an infographic.
Infographics showcase statistics and offer a vivid alternative to a traditional press release.
8. Use an image.
Maybe a compelling image could say a thousand words. In that case, allow it to tell the story.
Research has found that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. If a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 percent of the information three days later.
There you have eight alternatives to consider the next time you’re faced with creating a press release. Maybe one, or a combination, of these would better suit your purpose.
A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.