December 16, 2015
As a PR professional, one of the questions I am asked almost every week is, “should we do a press release on this?” The short answer: if you have to ask, then it’s probably a no—and I am only being partially sarcastic! To elaborate, and provide some (hopefully) useful guidance, my team and I have come up with a handy press release checklist to help you determine whether or not your news is in fact press release worthy. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and maybe the exception is simply, “my boss really wants us to issue a release on this.” Fair enough! That said, below are some good questions to ask yourself before writing, or having your PR agency write, a press release:
- Is this “news” really news? What we mean here is, is this the type of thing you typically read about in the New York Times, or Modern Healthcare? If you just read about your competitor signing on a rural health system in such an outlet, then chances are they would also write about your new client too. But, if you have never read an article about a company starting a blog, there is probably a reason for that as well.
- Who will care about this news? If the answer is “my employees,” or “my board members,” then perhaps a press release is not the best vehicle for communicating this news. Maybe this is an opportunity to leverage your company newsletter.
- Is it true? This seems like an obvious one, but it really isn’t. Many times clients want to announce something they are planning to do in the future, but aren’t doing yet. And that is a tricky one. For example, in the healthcare technology industry, there is often a very long sales cycle, and many organizations do in fact sell technologies now that won’t be available for a year. In this case, if you are confident that the technology really will be developed and you are prepared to field inquiries from the media, clients and prospects about said technology, then go ahead and write a release about it. But, if you haven’t even begun the R&D process, consider waiting until some more details are firmed up.
- Will announcing this jeopardize an important relationship? A mention in Health Data Management is just not worth losing a client over. As much as you would love to shout from the rooftops that Mass General Hospital is now using your EHR system, do not announce anything publically unless you have Mass General’s signoff. Many organizations, particularly in the healthcare space, have strict policies regarding participating in vendors’ press releases or other external announcements. Be sure you are clear about these policies before you start drafting a release.
- Is this a “me too” announcement? Are you announcing a capability that all of your competitors already have? Will issuing this be portrayed as a negative since you are late to the game? If the answer is “yes,” then maybe again a press release isn’t the best tactic. Consider sending clients a direct marketing piece to inform them of this new capability or service.
Of course, this is only a partial list of issues to consider when determining if a press release is the right tool for the job, but hopefully it gives you some good insight into some considerations to make before putting pen to paper.
Do you have other items to add to our checklist? If so, Tweet us at @ariamarketing.
Also, in a few weeks we will continue this press release discussion, and review the pros and cons of issuing a press release over the wire, so check back soon to learn more!