Beyond PR

Jul 19, 2012

Press release, blog post or Tweet?

In today’s world of blogs, social networks, digital media and connected audiences, it can sometimes be tough to decide which communications vehicle is appropriate for a particular announcement.   In this article, we’ll consider different ways to distribute messages, and when each is appropriate.

Social media

As always, we advocate adhering to the 80/20 rule – in this case, 80% of your brand’s social posts should be about others – e.g. interactions with audience members, or curation of interesting things from third parties – and 20% (or even less) should be about your brand.   So, within this structure, when is it a good idea to “break” a story on Twitter or other social channels?

  • When the content is ideally suited for social media – e.g. when you have developed a great infographic or video.  This sort of content is meant for social networks.
  • Good news that is likely to generate positive comments among your engaged audience can work well – such as congratulating a person or team on an award, e.g. “Woot! Congratulations to our PR team for their third consecutive Bronze Anvil!”
  • When you want to convey a short message that doesn’t require any further explanation, e.g. “Just one more day to register for our webinar! Here’s the link: {link]”

Blog post

Blogs are a less formal means of communication, but are nonetheless a great way to convey a message and engage your audience, and there are some instances when a blog post is the perfect mechanism for a specific message, including:

  • Background perspective for an announcement or development
  • Editorial or marketplace commentary that would be inappropriate for a press release
  • Offering an “inside” look at the company or an employee

Press release

Press releases have long been (and continue to be) viewed as authoritative statements that are part of the permanent public record.  While they were once reserved solely for hard news,  today, press releases are used for many other types of communications, including issuing statements, sharing survey or study results, offering timely tips or advice (e.g. recipes, how-to’s, etc.) and advocacy.   That said, many of these stories make great fodder for a blog or company newsletter.  So when should you consider using a well written press release (and a newswire service, of course) for the message?

  • When the message is truly newsworthy, and you could realistically expect an industry publication or mainstream media outlet to be interested in the content, a press release will help garner attention in newsrooms
  • When you need to drive a specific outcome, such as traffic to a web page, downloads of a white paper, or registrations to an event, a press release can be a powerful results driver.
  • Use a press release when you have a message you want to be sure is viewed as being “on record.”
  • When the message is an important one, and you want guaranteed broad exposure for it, issue a press release.
  • Use a press release to promote a blog post.  (Yes.  Really.)

They’re not mutually exclusive

It’s important to note that social channels, blog posts and press releases are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, they can work together to send a strong signal to search engines, to help improve web site rank.  You can also use different channels together to tell a complete story.     A press release about a new product, for example, would be wonderfully supported by a blog post featuring a video interview with the product manager.  Social channels could be used to amplify both messages.  In fact, it’s a good idea to think about “the other side of the story” when issuing press releases –  background information on key players or product details are interesting to key audiences and are a great way to extend the message.

We’re thinking a lot about press releases this week – and a lot differently about them as well.  On Friday, I’ll be discussing press releases – and the tactics you need to employ to make them work in today’s digital environment –  on the Bulldog Reporter’s PR University webinar titled, “Power-Packed Press Releases for the Digital Age: New Techniques for Increased Pick Up and a Longer Tail,” along with Katie Hasse , global PR manager for Steelcase, and Jon Greer, training director at PR University.  I hope you can join the conversation!

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

2 Comments on Blog Post Title

Jackie at Shook 09:42 EDT on Jul 19, 2012

This is a good explanation of when to use blog posts, tweets and press releases. At Shook, we believe we stand out as an online selling provider because of the personal connections we make with our users. We write blog posts on most of our products uploaded by our customers to give a personal story to each item.

Check out our blog at:


Jackie Paulson LOVES BOOKS 19:21 EDT on Aug 10, 2012

I agree with jackie on this one. This is great for the newbie to learn from. I have been blogging for two years and this is the best information blog out here. I am thinking about the stats and the visibility and the way that all works.

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