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Guest view: Don’t ignore the power of the press release

The news business is evolving faster than ever. At breakneck speed, it is steadily being morphed by technology, economics and the battle for attention.

In this environment, however, some vestiges of the past are still useful.

Consider the lowly press release, for example. These workhorses can still be a brand’s best friend.

The key is in their care and feeding:

– Tell a story. Even your 1Q19 financial results can be narrative.- Be relevant and creative. Get readers/viewers to care about your news
– Make every word count. Reporters won’t hunt for your point or edit it into focus
– Ensure the grammar, spelling and syntax are perfect
– Use real quotes. If your CEO doesn’t use the words “leveraging” or “plethora,” don’t include them
– Include links to supplementary charts, graphs, photos, videos and audio clips. A printed article will also run online. Facilitate that process
– Brand everything: The release, data, findings, insights and visuals should all foot to you
– Send appropriately. No blind sending of mass emails
– Post your releases on your own website and social media channels
– Monitor for results; clarify as needed
– When you make it on air or in print, thank your journalist with a short email or social post

The use of press releases goes back more than a century, when one was used to disseminate information about a 1906 Atlantic City train accident. In the 100-plus years since, things have changed massively; however, despite the passage of time, a well-crafted, targeted press release can still get the job done.

Dan Weckerly is director of public relations at Lehigh Mining & Navigation, an advertising agency in Allentown. He can be reached at weckerly@lmandn.com.

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