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PR Outreach Test Case: News Versus Announcement

Some say the effectiveness of the press release is all done in. You may have even heard some negative pundits say, “PR is dead, let’s mourn the passing and get on with digital marketing.” Well, as far as I can tell down here in the PR trenches, all that’s happened is a shuffling of tasks and responsibilities. A nice little tool called Press King will help me show how this is so.

Ana Cristiana

Runway Baby – An Indiegogo Evangelism

A friend of ours asked my partner if we would undertake some media outreach and campaign structuring for an interesting fashion dream of hers, a company she dubbed Runway Baby, and it’s first design iteration, the BOGO campaign “Book In A Blanket.” As part of the arrangement with Ana Cristiana (seen above in promo image), the founder, we agreed to test elements of campaigning such as Press King and others. Here then is a brief rundown that will clearly show what traditional media outreach, with the right methods, is still really good for.

Press King is a platform for helping companies and agencies manage their media relations. From the same people that brought you Fotolia, mention , mailjet, textmaster (serial entrepreneur Thibaud Elzerie ) this service is another module of media management simplicity we found ultra useful. Beside the consideration of staff including CEO Bertrand Besse, Press King was not only simple to use, but highly effective for distributing what I would term “real story,” rather than clear announcement (as in the WIHP case below). Rather than bore you with user interface and functionality that’s all there, the following result came about for the buy-one-get-one (BOGO) story of Ana Cristiana and Book In A Blanket.

I wrote the release, plugged it into the Press King interface, and BINGO! Even I was amazed at the email notifications Book In A Blanket had been A, viewed or B, read by a journalist in fashion or other relevant media. The bottom line for this campaign was, Book In A Blanket has more media coverage at this moment than any funding campaign on Indiegogo.

To date this business slash altruism campaign has received:

  • A magazine spread on Fresh Young Millionaire
  • An organic materials – small business article on
  • A piece on at working moms top blog, At Home Moms Blog
  • Yet another local post about helping underprivileged children
  • A social blog feature on crowdsourcing
  • A wonderful article on the creativity blog happy hang around
  • An environmental impact post on GoGreenAmerica
  • As well as other blog mentions

Press King user interface

What’s significant to note here, for the agency type out there reading, is that these media pickups came about solely from the Press Kind button push. Other media attention and social media discounted, anybody would pay $190 bucks for this coverage. In fairness, the tenor and relevance of this release is suited to pickups however. The image you see above reflects how easy it is to interact with media people once they’ve engaged. The one below shows a veritable page view report for my release. As you can see, the news had some eyeballs on it.

Press King statistics

WIHP and Defining the Marketing Mention

As suggested above, a separate test case was initiated for World Independent Hotels Promotions (WIHP) using Press King as one of the media outreach channels. As I indicated in the intro though, the digital shakeup of PR and marketing has caused a shift in responsibility/strategies. While the Press King release formulated for WIHP was identical in almost every respect, announcing a Library Hotel Collection in New York City won an Adrian Award, this is the sort of news most journalists find difficult (or cumbersome) to write.

Referral traffic

As you can see in the screen above, while a good number of journalists viewed the release, and while 4o did open the mail, I can testify not one wrote about this award. Right here is where individual media outreach, network, and targeted news play a role. Travel Daily News, for one, did respond to a direct personal approach, which any PR pro would accept as expected. Right here’s where “shifted” duties comes in, rather than negated PR professions.

Summing up, award announcements and seemingly pure commercial news is best left for social media campaigning, direct personal approaches, or in short advertising, right where advertising these things belong. While some journalists and all haters of public relations will content the press release and the PR behind it “dead as a door nail,” big time PR professionals such as the Richard Edelman’s of the world have other ideas. Digital is actually made for communicators, all the PR firms need do is shift slightly away from pat press release outreach, and toward the uncontrolled nature of social conversation. As Richard Edelman himself put it;

“We (Edelman PR) have a different approach to digital, which is social digital tied to public relations. Social is a powerful adjunct to data because you cannot control conversations.”

The old way of media outreach was highlighted by selected personal outreaches supported by massive press release distribution, that is for most topics. Today the workload has clearly shifted to include social media and soon mobile.  As Edelman alludes in his 6 A. M.  blog piece on the Publis/Omnicom merger, the only play for agencies is to be fleet of foot, experimental, but economical in the end.

Of course some of this is not exactly rocket science either. For instance, a fashionista single mom, creating a business that gives as much as it gets, this is a story that outweighs business awards any day of the week. And here is where our little mini-test of Press King ends up, as a highly economical tool if used for the right story, for the right reason. In the end, we’re not looking at the end of PR, or the press release, we’re looking at a refinement based on the emerging social need – social media and marketing have not taken over anything, we’re just beginning to talk to one another again.

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