Press Releases and the Internet

There’s a huge difference between writing and distributing a press release and preparing the proper publicity materials.  If you think writing a press release and distributing it on the PR Newswire or some other electronic Web distribution service is all that is necessary to get top notch publicity, then you need to read on.   A press release by definition is: “information supplied to reporters for them to make known to the public.”  So, why will reporters choose to publish your press release over another one?  A reporter or editor will choose to publish one press release over another based upon the relevance, presentation, and the reliability of their source.  A publicist stimulates the interest of editors, knows what they are looking for, and builds relationships to become known as a reliable source by them.

 

Venmark International has earned our reputation as one of the best PR firms in the country over the past 34 years by providing editors and reporters with information in a format that gets their attention.  This was summed up nicely in a letter from Stanley Parkhill, Editor of Compressed Air magazine who wrote, “Your staff, without exception, produces the best new product releases that we receive.  Unlike the hundreds of releases that cross my desk each week, yours are well-written, to-the-point, understandable, and, most important of all, shows your clients’ to their best advantage.  I hope they realize the positive service you give them.  Please give my thanks to everyone involved for making my life easier and adding to our readers’ bank of information.”

 

That reputation for providing editors with meaningful information was further recognized by Russ Kratowicz at Plant Services Magazine who wrote, “In short, when I see the characteristic “editor-friendly” Venmark press release, I know it is worthwhile for me to read it because I know it contains information that I cannot afford to ignore the now familiar format means that I know exactly where to look for the information I need.”

 

The most frustrating observation that I’ve made in 35 years as a product publicist is the lack of understanding amongst the brightest engineers and businesspeople about the difference between press releases and preparing publicity materials.  These are the same people who see the value in preparing a top notch website, first class product literature, and always dress well when visiting with customers.  However, they’ll send out a press release that is poorly written, without a photograph, and downright awful, if they even send one out at all.  It is the functional equivalent of making sales calls in torn blue jeans.  Moreover, they don’t realize what constitutes an effective publicity opportunity because they simply don’t understand the intricacies involved or, most often, underestimate them.

 

Not sending out publicity materials at all is a huge mistake because editors are in the information business and if you have worthwhile information (news) about your company,  products, people, and events, then take advantage of the opportunity to present it to them.  Does a product have to be new to be newsworthy?  Absolutely not!  Is it dishonest to send out a press release about an existing product?  Not if you’re up front about it.  Every product has different features, benefits, and applications that are of interest to editors.  The key is to know what editors and Web hosts are looking for and to know how to “present” publicity materials to them the way they want it.

 

All Media Outlets Are Not the Same

 

Just because you put some information into a template and distribute it on the Web doesn’t mean it will get read by the right people.  How many e-mails do you delete without reading them?  Alas, here’s another incredibly misunderstood marketing tool.  Commonsense ought to dictate that if you are known to someone; your e-mail will be more likely to get read by that person.   Venmark International’s press releases get read by editors because we have a long and successful history of providing quality information to them.   In fact, new editors often contact Venmark and introduce themselves and request specific types of information.   Our firm has a complete database of editors’ preferred e-mail addresses and know  which editors still prefer postal mail.  All media outlets are not the same.   However, most web distribution services treat them all the same.

 

As noted above, Venmark International has a solid reputation for providing editors with news and information (press releases) in a format that contains what they are looking for and is recognized for their high quality.  Many clients have expressed their surprise to us about how many different ways we can publicize ordinary products such as cable ties, spiral wrap, plastic tubing, electronic parts, fasteners, hand tools, paints, and abrasives.  That’s what effective product publicity is all about.

 

Publicity Produces Much More Value Today

 

When I show a prospective client how ordinary commodity products can be publicized repeatedly with a different creative approach every month he or she is truly amazed.  What impresses them more is the “Power of Publicity.”  Publicity is truly the most powerful marketing tool in the world simply because an editor or Web host is “telling their readers about your products” and publicity “evens the playing field” because a small company can be made to appear just as big as a major corporation, without spending a fortune. The only marketing tool that is better is a referral from a respected colleague.

 

In conclusion, if you wonder why certain products get more featured coverage than yours it is probably because a professional publicist prepared the publicity materials.  Industry is no different than politics or publishing.  Authors and actors on the Today Show or Good Morning America didn’t get onto the program to “sell” their books or movies by accident.  It was arranged by an expert publicist.

 

Venmark International is the publicity firm for industry and technology.  Whether you’re a manufacturer or a distributor, the difference we make will provide your products with greater visibility in respected trade magazines, their websites, and other significant web portals and search engines.  This widespread exposure will enhance your company’s image as an industry leader, increase your brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, help improve your search engine positioning, generate sales leads, and get you the best marketing return-on-investment.

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Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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