Not Your Grandfather???s Press Release

Sometimes the various means of branding a business overlap. Blogs, video archives, promotional pages, the online press room and press releases all seem to bleed into each other without distinction. So what is it that makes any one element distinct? Fortunately, there are ways to separate each element, if some consideration is given to the role of each in the greater branding effort.

In the case of press releases, it can sometimes seem that the brand’s blog already addresses the issue. The blog is a central place to come for news about the brand, so why send out a press release?

The answer lies in the intended location of the respective elements. A blog is centrally maintained on a brand’s own website. Press releases have their clue in their name; they are released to other locations in order to get information out to a wider audience than a brand’s own immediate readership. When that is considered, the various ways a press release can be leveraged to capture that audience become much more evident.

Method 1 – Common Audience Building

The key to a good press release is to target a potential audience held by another publication. You have your announcement, and decide that it has relevance to the issues put forth in another publication. Say you’re launching a new line of organic sunscreen – you could consider sending your press release about the launch to a running magazine, since runners almost by definition spend a good deal of time in the sun and are concerned about their health.

This principle is based on the commonsense approach that you will never have access to every audience you want, and that people have multiple interests. The press release is an easy, straightforward way to get your information into the hands of people who might be interested, but haven’t had a chance to get to your site for whatever reason.

Method 2 – Be Creative

Press releases typically are a bit boring, especially if they focus on the journalistic approach of “just the facts.” As people turn to viral marketing, video blogging and other means of going all out to get creative new ideas in front of people, they sometimes overlook that a press release is actually a solid venue to try that.

Instead of simply making an announcement or a sales pitch in your press release, consider putting a sense of humor into it. Press releases are built around a headline to get the central point across, so consider a pun or a rhetorical question for that element. Let your writing staff stretch its creativity and seek out the odd, off-the-wall idea now and again.

Method 3 – Video!

There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for excluding video from your options. Video equipment costs around $200, so every business that wants to create a branding presence should look into getting some. And the press release is an excellent medium for taking advantage of video technology, as well. The web is crammed with text. People are reading constantly, and a great deal of what they’re reading is dull and uninteresting. Give them something to remember by making a personal video commenting on an issue you care about (one that, of course, relates both to their interests and your brand). But, as always, keep it short – a two-minute summary is more likely to get watched than a 15-minute masterpiece.

Method 4 – Consider Skipping the Promotion

Not every press release need contain a cut-and-dried advertisement for something you’re selling. People, once again, are being sold to on a constant basis. Instead of going into your company’s new brand line, consider releasing an article about a related topic between your brand and the audience.

Returning to the organic sunscreen idea, consider addressing the common perceptions of organic goods in the media. There’s a sort of backlash going on against the organic products, with accusations they are worse for the environment than conventional products. Perhaps you could release a story on the way your brand has grappled with the issue as a responsible company, and gain an audience by inviting people to come and have their say, rather than just advertising your product blatantly.

Method 5 – Add the Human Element

Alternatively to discussing issues specifically, there’s the opportunity to talk about people. Perhaps there’s some visionary or icon in your brand’s world, and you got a chance to interview them or bring them to a big event. Consider sharing the interview in the press release, or part of the discussion along with an invitation for people to attend and get the rest of the story.

People like hearing about other people. Having a face to put to an issue or a concept lends a humanizing element, and takes the matter out of the realm of the abstract and into a place people can relate to in their own lives. So use the press release to talk about people you admire or who motivate your brand in particular ways, then take advantage of this element and get people talking more about you.

Copyright ?? 2010 Enzo F. Cesario

— Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the “voice” of our client’s brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to or visit our blog at

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