I recently heard rumour of a new style of “PR service” being offered to the marine and energy industries; a press release distribution service. My understanding, from what I was told, is that the “PR agency” (note the intentional use of quotation marks) is paid a monthly fee to literally distribute the press releases written by the client company to a media list. Let me share my thoughts on why this service is a really bad idea, as it’s simply not delivering value for money.
Pay for consultancy
I am guessing that you are not a PR professional. And even if you’re a marketer, the two are quite distinct disciplines. Which is why it makes sense to invest in specialist advice. If your PR agency isn’t at least editing and proofing, let alone drafting your press releases, how can you be sure that the strategic messaging is on point, consistent, meaningful, and that your story is being told to best effect, building your reputation in the right way? Be brave – don’t hire “yes men / women”, work with professionals that know what they’re doing and that you respect and trust to challenge your story and how you are telling it. Get value for money by demanding consultancy, not just some glorified e-blast service.
Sweat your assets
A press release is not a stand-alone piece of communication. It sits within a wider context and tells part of a bigger, corporate, brand building story. And if you have a newsworthy message for the market, then tell it across multiple channels, from traditional, to social, and digital media; nuanced accordingly for each one. Repetition is reinforcement and your PR partner should help you to sweat all the communications collateral that’s created.
PR isn’t just about press releases
Lastly, I’ve said it many times before and will, no doubt, say it many times again; PR does not stand for press release! It stands for public relations. This is not just press releases, indeed it’s not just media relations, but rather the sustained effort of facilitating two-way communication between an organisation and its publics; multi-faceted communications with the people most important to your organisation. If this isn’t what your PR partner is helping you to achieve, I’d highly recommend finding a different one. And reap the significant business and brand benefits that true PR consultancy can deliver.