Back in the day (ok, we’re only talking a few years ago or so) press releases were just that—a news release sent on to the press. A company’s marketing department would put together a document featuring a big announcement, maybe a new product or facility or an upcoming event, and if you were lucky, the local or national paper or television station would pick it up, and if you were really lucky, one of the larger media outlets might inquire further and turn it into an article. Marketer’s measured this success with actual rulers and column inches and by running airtime; then translated it into “earned media” (meaning, free marketing space acquired from the press release pick-up) on intricate spreadsheets. It was tedious.
Mikey Likes It.
Along came social media, which made the sharing of press releases so much easier. But, not only did social networks make it more simple and quicker to disseminate information, it also cast them out to a wider audience. Audiences were able to see golf news as it was happening, and companies were not dependent on media outlets picking up their press releases. However, with so many different channels distributing content, it started to become a nightmare to monitor success, or to even apply any metrics to determine earned media—or if these online shares even scored as a marketing measure—did a golf company’s press release reposted on Mikey’s personal golf blog “count?”
S E Oh No.
Technology evolved, and along with web analytics, press releases became easier to monitor through tracking services, and search engine optimized press releases began to dominate. Press releases became less about sharing new information and more about link building to drive website traffic and moving up in search rankings. Google quickly put the kibosh on these manipulative strategies, and penalizes users for implementing these sorts of tactics.
What’s Your Intent?
Today, the intent of the press release remains the same—to connect with the media—but it also has expanded (or in some cases, narrowed) its reach to include target-specific audiences (golfers, investors, etc.) to:
Raise awareness through shareable content—what have I learned, and is it easy for me to pass it along?
Provide community/customer benefit—what’s in it for me?
Connect with experts—position experts at your golf company as thought leaders in the industry
Generate actionable results—what response is your press release driving me to do?
For your golf company to stay in business, you must consistently meet these goals and objectives.
So, we’ve put away the ruler, and we’re a bit more technical in how we determine your golf company’s return on investment these days. Based on the goals and intentions above, we can expect to track and measure the following results:
Visibility: How many people saw my press release.
Audience: What are the demographics of those who viewed my press release?
Engagement: Who “engaged” with my press release and took further action, in the form of click throughs, media follow ups, website or landing page visits, purchases, etc.
Social media: Shares, posts, Tweets, etc.
The Press Release Format
The press release format has remained fairly consistent. The headline should be short and to the point, summarizing the release. For the body copy, think of the five “W’s”: who, what, where, when, why. Include a quotation or two from your golf company expert on the topic and its benefits; provide contact information for media follow up, contextual links for more information, company logos, a brief summary of your golf company, and any accompanying images.
Now, stylistically, conceptually, here is where we’re seeing a big evolution—the press release is less about presenting “news”, and more about engaging and telling a great story (much like your marketing should be doing). Your news is the news, and more often than not, due to time constraints and the fluidity with which the media operates today, media channels are picking up press releases as the story, so make it count. PR submission services like www.thegolfbiz.com make it simple to get in front of the right audiences and media outlets in a cost effective and timely manner.
Considering a press release as part of your marketing efforts?
Here are some ideas:
New staff or a promotion
New spokesperson/Brand ambassador
New marketing campaign
New process (do you have a new website that makes online shopping easier, did you simplify signing up for tee times on your course, did you improve the quality of your product?)
Have a press release to post? Check out www.thegolfbiz.com and see how press releases should look in the digital age.