Three Reasons Why Companies Fail at Media Relations
August 21, 2019
Third-party media holds the power to help amplify and spread your story to educate and build awareness, generate leads and reinforce brand value. But getting “free” media attention for your company, service, product or organization has become harder than ever, because there’s so much competition.
Why do so many companies fail to get the media attention they deserve? There are three key reasons.
#1: Companies overly rely on shallow, self-serving press releases to get media attention.
This is a tough one for many people to acknowledge, because they’re so close to their own stories and so badly want the world to know about them. Company accomplishments, especially, are hard won points of personal pride. But media don’t exist to promote company accomplishments — a list of accomplishments isn’t a story pitch.
The editor of Propmodo, the proptech thought leadership blog, recently sounded off on vapid press releases:
“Ninety-nine percent of all press releases have little to no reason to exist…. there is no better way to disrespect a reader than to take up their time making them read four paragraphs about nothing more than your company’s accomplishments. Property companies need to find ways to show their expertise [other] than just brag about themselves in a press release.”
Super tough stuff, but I know the guy, and he is well intended. He’s just tired of reading hundreds of puffy press releases a week. In his view press releases are supposed to be story ideas that inspire the media, not self-serving announcements where companies talk about how great they are. The latter doesn’t provoke him to write a story.
I see his point of view, and he’s far from the only member of the media who thinks we’ve witnessed the “death” of the press release due to misuse.
#2: Companies leave the customer out of the story.
There a million benefits to include customers in marketing PR, but the most important are to add credibility to a story and to make it more interesting. “Showing” how a customer benefits from a product or service is so much more powerful (and personal) than a company just talking about itself to make the point. And who’s more believable? Plus, customers are relatable and they do say the darndest things, which makes them interesting subjects for reporters to interview.
It’s ironic that so many companies leave customers out of their PR when they showcase them in case studies and testimonials. Make customers a big part of earned media pursuits.
#3: Companies ask media to tell stories that don’t meet the media’s objective standards for what’s interesting or newsworthy.
This one’s also tough for a lot of companies to hear because they think everyone should care about them. But media have audiences, and they think about them the same way that companies think about customers. Media typically know their audiences and what they want, and strive to serve them.
So stories that don’t fit an outlet are a tough sell. If that’s the case, take your news somewhere else or identify other ways to get your message out to your targets.
If you read this blog post and see yourself or your company, don’t be disheartened. Just modify your approach, and remember that media relations is only one tool in the integrated marketing PR toolbox. Use media relations (“earned media”) complemented by paid, shared and owned media to make a market for your company and succeed.
Coming in future blog posts: A refresher on how to use paid, earned, shared and owned media simultaneously, and a case study on how CRELIX recently got wide press attention for a client without using a press release!