What’s My Incentive to Publish a Press Release?
By Floyd Cowan - Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Asian Journeys
Daily, I receive swarms of email pitches grinning at me across the ether, dripping with bon hommie from PR professionals who want me to give their clients exposure. Very few of them get in my magazine or on my website or get posted to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. I welcome press releases as they inform me about what’s happening in the world, and they provide me with valuable content.
So why do some get used and others not?
First of all, they have to be on topic. It is obvious when a PR pro is just sending out releases to a list of media whether or not they cover their subject or not. These releases get treated with the same respect as they show us.
Most PR professionals believe I am as invested in their client’s product as they are. I’m not.
During a working day I’m dealing with dozens of things with my focus on how I can build and monetize my business. Most often they think I am going to be happy to help promote their client – for free. But why should I be? There are hundreds of companies wanting to use my platforms to promote their products and services. Money talks, but it doesn’t always take talking money to get my attention.
“We are sharing this information for your reader’s interest…” wrote one PR pro to a friend who is a multi-award-winning freelancer and author of several books – and is very good at what he does.
That rings hollow because we all know the PR pro is sharing it because they are being paid to share it – that’s their job. That’s how they make their money! Nobody faults them for that. Many PR pros do not know who my readers are, much less what their interests are. I’ve even been approached by PR pros who didn’t know Asian Journeys is a travel magazine.
From that PR company quoted above, the full sentence reads: “We are sharing this information for your reader’s interest, unfortunately, there will be no media drops or seeding for this engagement at the moment.”
Other than the use of annoying PR terms there is less likely to be any engagement if it comes from a company that is global but expects small companies and freelancers to work for nothing. It takes time to edit a piece to your house style – often taking out annoying PR words – and then formatting it for whichever platform it will go on. It takes years to build readership and a following.
My friend made several excellent points in his reply:
“On behalf of [the client], you send out a release about something - to be honest; I didn't read it. I am assuming … you are earning a remuneration for issuing this release unless, of course, you are doing this pro bono. If that is the case, I salute you.
“… advertisers are not doing what they are supposed to be doing - advertising. So this whole system is grinding to a halt. Then what happens when all the publications fold because, as you know, they can't survive on fresh air?
“If I were a PR practitioner and in touch with the market, I would tell my client: "Hey, I have a great idea. Publications and freelancers are suffering and you sell a valuable product. Wouldn't it be a great idea to offer them some complimentary products? There is a big mark-up on your products so it's not going to make you go broke. Alternatively, we could purchase some ads."
There are many good PR professionals whom I am happy to work with, two of whom I wrote about in Part I of this series. For them, I don’t need a free cup of coffee every time I do something for them. And believe me, if either of them had made the approach, they would’ve gotten exposure – without any lip back.
A little bit goes a very long way and far into the future. I like to show my appreciation far beyond one project because that’s what real partners do.
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