How to Totally Blow Your News Release
The Sprocket Report
This post shouldn’t need to be written, but we just experienced it AGAIN. Take a look at this case study, learn from their mistakes and make sure everyone in your organization knows WHY you need to follow the steps in the right order.
Because this is a learning opportunity and not a shaming session, please remember that Sprocket manages social media profiles for clients in Illinois, California and Arizona, among other places, and we’re not going to identify the subject of this example. It happens everywhere.
The point of social media marketing is to build relationships with current and prospective customers. That means spending a lot of time LISTENING on social platforms rather than constantly broadcasting. And when you do broadcast, the majority of posts should be informational and entertaining, not “buy my product” advertisements.
A good source for engaging content is local news and events. Community news appeals to your audience, uses geographically-appropriate search terms and you can add your own spin. Also, the local business or organization whose news you're sharing will be grateful for the boost. We LOVE sharing community news. If only folks wouldn’t make it darned near impossible to do so!
Here’s what happened this week:
- We get an email that is clearly titled “News Release.” Okay, you have our attention! What’s the news?
- It’s an announcement for a fun event coming up, sponsored by a worthy organization. We’re more than happy to support this group and what they do is complementary to several of our clients. Great! Our clients get some engaging content – the organization gets several shares.
- We confirm that there’s no link to the news release in the email after spending some time looking for it. But there IS a link to the organization’s website, so we click on it.
- The event story is not listed under Updates, News, Events or any of the other tabs on the website.
- Eventually, we find the event posted on their calendar, but it’s a bare-bones listing, not the News Release story they sent, and it doesn’t have the accompanying photograph. It will make for a very ugly Facebook post if we use that URL as a link.
- We could cobble together our own version of the news release and upload the photo from the email, but it won’t look official and we’re on a deadline anyway, so – never mind. That event will not be shared with our clients’ followers.
This is not a kitchen-table organization. They boast a hefty budget with paid employees. They have multiple spots on their website for Events and Updates. But the information just isn’t there.
This is what should have happened:
- An article about the event is written. An appropriate photograph is chosen to accompany it.
- The article is posted in the News section of their website. Your website is ALWAYS the primary source for your news.
- Make sure your web platform lets you post a news article on its own page so that when the link is shared, that’s only what readers see. The event you’re promoting shouldn’t be the fifth item on a list.
- If it makes sense, repost the article on your other web pages (like Updates or Events) or post the link to the original article.
- Create a Calendar item on the web site with a link back to the original article.
- Write a press release about the event and include the link to the original article on your website.
- THEN send the press release out.
No one has time to track down your news. If you want to spread the word about your event, make it easy for the community to help you. And don’t forget to plan ahead so that there is plenty of time to share your news more than once.
If the way your current website works isn’t conducive to news sharing, we have some great tools that simplify things tremendously. Give us a call – we’re happy to help make things easier for you!