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Marketing Secrets

PR Does Not Stand for Press Release

Bill Marion        BILL MARION        Principal        Purdue Marion & Associates

Getting a news story published in the newspaper, in the business press or on television is a valuable tool for enhancing a company's reputation, expanding its visibility, and reaching target audiences. We call this "Earned Media." It's different from paid advertising because the information is presented by a third party, an objective and trustworthy source.

There are two simple rules that we recommend a client should follow. First, the story has to have real news value. Reporters and editors, particularly with the television news, have very limited space, and they are looking for stories that are timely, that have broad appeal and interest, and that stimulate and educate their readers and viewers. Inundating assignment editors with weekly press releases on company updates not only frustrates them, but it also ensures that when a real news story comes along, its gets buried because it is viewed as being just one more of the same. At the end of the year, you have a book with 52 press releases, but none of them ran.

The second rule is to keep the press release factual and to the point. We never rely on the press release itself to generate a reporter's interest. Instead, we evaluate the newsworthiness of the story, identify the most appropriate news outlets to cover it, pitch the story to appropriate reporters and editors, and then use the press release to provide essential background information. Adding fluffy adjectives and over-the-top metaphors actually lessens the value of the release. Reporters are smart, and they see through the fluff quickly.

When reporters know that you only call when you have something of quality to give them, they will be that much more eager to return the call.

Bill Marion can be contacted by phone by email at or calling 702.222.2362

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