If your company does something and you didn’t tell your marketplace about it, did it actually happen?

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By Linda Forrest

Outbound news is just one aspect of a company’s PR program, but it’s an important one. While there are ways to generate coverage without making announcements, it’s likely that your company has plenty of newsworthy announcements to share with its marketplace.

We’ve all heard the adage “if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The corollary in marketing might be the title of this post, “if your company does something and you didn’t tell your marketplace about it, did it actually happen?” First, let’s examine what sorts of news is best suited to a news release versus a story pitch, benefits of sharing your news with the marketplace, objectives besides market awareness served by sending out news and a brief story about missed opportunities and the ripples that they have across marketing channels.

What sort of news is best suited to a news release?

News releases are not the only outbound PR vehicle but it sure is a frequently used tactic. When the blog Journalistics tried to find out the number of releases issued per day through popular newswires, they came up with a number approaching 3,000, and this was back in 2009; the number is sure to have grown significantly since then. It’s unequivocal that a lot of these releases are a waste of time and resources, as spamming is a well known problem in PR. Just as sending too many press releases can damage your reputation, so too can not sharing your news with the marketplace, especially in today’s interconnected communications world where a news release begets a blog post begets a Tweet…

Some types of announcements are best suited to a news release over another outbound tactic:

  • Executive appointments and hirings
  • Awards
  • New products versions
  • Events
  • Recruitment initiatives
  • Customer wins

There are others and aspects of these announcements might be pitched using a story pitch to a targeted set of media, but in the main, these sorts of announcements suit putting out a release. Sending out keyword-rich releases that have been drafted with a keen eye to SEO will distribute the news far and wide and help you to harvest the news value associated with the subject of the release (assuming it’s properly followed up with the highest value targets.)

Be sure that your latest news releases are achived in your online newsroom. Be sure that your online newsroom is built to best practices, as outlined in this post from our archives. If you don’t broadcast your latest news on the very channels that your organization owns, this includes your own website and your accounts on various social media channels, you’re missing a good opportunity to cross collateralize your marketing content.

Select the outbound news approach that best suits the story you’re telling

If your company has survey results, statistics, significant developments in terms of a market shift (either geographically or sectorally), then a news release, depending on your objectives for spreading this news, may not be the best way to go. Perhaps the news is best pitched to individual outlets or reporters. One high value piece may trump the “thud factor” that a lot of rebroadcast of your news release would create.

What are the benefits of sharing your news with the marketplace?

Market awareness is the chief benefit of disseminating news. Your existing and prospective partners, customers, media targets, analysts covering your space, investors and other stakeholders are made aware of what your company is up to and can make decisions about their engagement and level of interest in your company and its activities based on news that you share with the marketplace. If you don’t tell your marketplace that you’re expanding, that you’re under new leadership, that you’ve been recognized for an achievement or milestone, then they won’t know. Your company’s currency in the marketplace is value – news value and otherwise – and if you miss the chance to harvest that value, it’s a wasted opportunity: your competitor will be featured in a news story rather than you, prospective partners will rule you out as a valuable partner because you appear to be dormant or out of step with the rest of the market, sought after talent will neglect to send you their resume because they didn’t know you were looking… The effects ripple out across your market and put you at a competitive disadvantage. There’s a reason that publicly-traded companies are subject to disclosure rules. If your company does something material, it’s important to share that news with the marketplace. Private companies should follow suit, evaluating their activities and potentially newsworthy happenings to see if they are important enough to distribute. If so, then evaluate what tactic best suits the news and engage with your market appropriately. There’s nothing sadder than visiting a corporate news room to see it’s been more than a year since it’s been updated. Has that company done nothing newsworthy in that time? Doubtful. They’ve just let opportunity pass them by.

Once upon a time…

Take a fictitious company, ABC Corporation. Q2 & Q3 were packed with promotions, trade shows, product updates, executive shuffles and more. But you’d never know it by visiting their website, which was last updated in Q4 of last year. As a result, prospective clients who were doing web research on potential vendors to buy from didn’t add ABC to their long, let alone their short, list. And these prospective clients could likely have taken advantage of sales promotions that would have lowered their costs but since you didn’t publicize these discounts, they paid more to your competitor. ABC did add some prospects to its pipeline but could have certainly added more if the news about the latest additions and upgrades to the platform had been distributed. And ABC is having a difficult time filling open positions on their team or those that are applying don’t target their CVs to the vision of the new president, hired in Q1. But how could they when there’s no trace of the company’s new direction on the website and the company is not getting covered in media roundups and analyst reports on vendors in their space.

This is an extreme example but as you can see neglecting to share your news with the marketplace can have widespread and lasting ramifications and more importantly, a negative impact on your bottom line.

Image: Coles Marketing

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