Why you shouldn’t put out a press release about your exciting news

In any sector, it’s a sign of healthy connection between you and your organisation when you’re enthusiastic about new developments and solutions.

The desire to let people know the good news is natural, and it’s important your business partners hear what your company’s been up to. An obvious next step for many managers is to ask the communications team or your PR agency to put out a press release.

But that’s not always a good idea.

Most people know the difference between ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media. Earned media (media coverage that you don’t pay for) is often seen as preferable because it confers credibility and it’s ‘free’.

Owned media (paid marketing or advertising) has an up-front cost that can be significant. Managers may feel dis-inclined to shell out for ads when their announcement is so exciting that it deserves to be covered for free.

But is it?

This is where a good communications professional should give it to you straight: they know what is newsworthy and what is not, and they know how to ferret out an angle as opposed to simply present information.

That might mean taking your announcement about a new local supplier and using it to highlight your support for kiwi business and the flow-on effect in the community.

It could be that your new product range is presented in terms of its eco-friendly packaging or your new warehouse is framed in terms of the number of jobs it will inject into the community.

Or, it could be that there is no news angle in the story- despite the quality of your work, the effort that’s gone into the development and the excitement at board level.

This is a tough message for a communications professional to give you, but a press release is just a sunk cost if it has no chance of being picked up. The time (i.e. money) spent on crafting a press release that won’t end up being seen by your key audience might be better spent on guaranteed coverage through owned media.

What’s more, no communications professional wants to get a reputation among journalists as being a time-waster. That reflects badly on them, and ultimately, on you.

When it comes to press releases, keep your powder dry for the times you have something of legitimate interest to a journalist. And trust your comms people- they like doing media, but they like protecting your reputation even more.