Why You Need To Think Beyond the Press Release

Stack of newspapers

“Let’s get a press release out on this!”

We’d be surprised if there was a working communicator out there who hadn’t heard this before. We all love sharing exciting news. And maybe it seems like just a press release will do that!

But hold on a beat.

Because… a press release may not be what you need to reach your goal.

We’re going to let you in on how we look at press releases. This is something we always share with our partners—because we want them to know there’s a better way to get where they want to go.

A Press Release Isn’t Enough

A press release is just a tactic. It’s one way to try to pique a reporter’s interest so that you can get a story. 

But so are pitches, media advisories, statements, Op-Eds… all just tactics. 

Think of them like tools in your toolbox. You don’t pull out your hammer just to swing a hammer. You pull it out because you’re going to build something. And whatever it is you’re building? That’s what people see at the end (they’re not thinking about the hammer!).

Do all these tactics have their uses? Yes.

Do all these tactics help you achieve your specific goals? Not necessarily.

All these tactics are different ways to garner media attention for your organization. Some of these may be a fit for what you’re trying to do. But there’s a craft to putting the right ones together in the right way to build a comprehensive media strategy. 

We like to think bigger.

Because thinking bigger is where the magic happens—and how our partners reach their goals.

Think Bigger Than The Press Release

Alright, so you don’t necessarily need a press release.

“What do I need, then?” you might be asking. But there’s a better question to ask first.

What is your true objective?

Your true objective isn’t a press release (even if you do end up using a press release to reach your objective!). It’s not even the media attention. It’s not that media attention isn’t a valuable part of your overall strategy. It is. It gives you credibility that builds trust. It gives you buzz that raises awareness. But it’s still part of an overall strategy that does something that matters for your organization.

You need to understand your “why.” Take a step back and visualize where you want to be. Are you sharing significant business news, generating anticipation for an upcoming event, or clarifying your stance on a pressing issue?

When we step back and think about the big picture—really think about why we’re trying to get media attention—that’s when we can start to put the pieces together and decide which tools we’ll need to make that vision a reality.

If you don’t have a clear grasp of your “why” before you start putting out press releases, pitches, the works, you’ll end up with a bunch of parts that don’t fit together. They won’t build something that gets you the end result you want. 

That’s why thinking beyond the press release is so important.

Rely On Your Agency Partner

“Rely on your agency to advise you on which tool gets you the results you want,” says Julie Rosenthal.

Let’s go back to that toolbox we talked about earlier. The one that’s packed full of communication tools, each with a specific purpose.

We don’t open up that toolbox until we know what we’re building together.

It’ll be there when we’re ready. And we know that it will have the tools we need because we’ve taken the time to collect the right ones and practiced using them. We know what works.

Having a communications partner on your side is so valuable, explains Sinikka Mondini. “We know the reporters covering this issue. We’ll pitch them. We’ll set up an interview and give them follow-up information.” We figure out for our partners what they need to do to reach their goals, regardless of tactic.

Take the toolbox metaphor a step further. Your agency partner? We’re your general contractor. We advise you on the right pieces and get them in the right place at the right time. Maybe one of those pieces is a press release, and maybe it isn’t. We help figure that out. And we put it all together to turn your vision into reality.


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