Top 10 tactics for an engaging B2B news release

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Top 10 tactics for an engaging B2B news release

Per a 2020 Muck Rack report, most journalists receive at least one pitch daily, yet publish under five stories a week, with a quarter or less of their stories originating from PR pitches. Factor into this the idea that writers face intense deadlines and that top-tier outlets often receive 100s of pitches a week, and it’s likely that you only have seconds, not minutes, before a journalist gets distracted and forgets your pitch.

Adding to the challenge, PR pitching is time-sensitive, so while you’re trying to issue an announcement, the value of your news may be quickly dropping for reporters and your company alike. But all is not lost, and it is possible to gain a journalist’s attention.

To help you smartly craft and deliver your news, here are some essential considerations that can determine the success of a news release:

1. Select an appropriate subject

A B2B news release can tackle many topics, such as a new product/service launch or partnership, winning a new client or an award, a new executive hire, public appearances, philanthropy projects and original research. Once you’ve selected a topic, be sure that the release is succinct, clear and straight to the point.

2. Target the right audience

Lack of personalization or bad timing are top reasons journalists reject otherwise relevant pitches. To avoid this, make sure your pitch aligns with the beat and types of stories covered by the reporter you’re sending it to. It also helps to give a specific reason why you’re bringing that news to a certain outlet (e.g., it aligns with a trending topic or an upcoming issue).

3. Create a headline with a newsworthy hook

 A great headline can succinctly state what your announcement means for an industry or topic that readers care about. Creating such a headline can help you break through the noise alongside the competition or even larger brands.

4. Put the most crucial summary info upfront

Many readers don’t get past the first paragraph before deciding whether to keep reading, so writers should place the most vital info about the release first followed by pertinent details below.

5. Keep your pitch short, meaningful and succinct

Short email pitches are often useful when sending out news releases. Most journalists feel that pitches over three paragraphs in length are too long. With that in mind, it’s best to communicate everything you need to in as few paragraphs as possible or in under 200 words.

6. Utilize value-added quotes

News release real estate is limited, so quotes must add value in unique ways and often perform many roles. Some methods for creating value-added quotes include explaining why the news is groundbreaking, summarizing a challenge and how it’s being resolved, using a powerful analogy, using humour to express a strong opinion or connecting the news with an industry’s macro-level issues.

7. Include imagery

 Intriguing imagery can greatly boost the value of content. Instead of stock art, it’s often better to use an action shot of your subject or an original image that is appropriate, interesting and informative. Something in high resolution (300+ dpi if a jpg) is preferable and usually necessary for print.

8. Think about using video

 A video may accomplish more than text or imagery. If you’re making your own, try to keep the runtime under four minutes. To show professionalism, ensure a high resolution, at least HD, and make sure shots are not shaky. To attract and retain viewers, write an effective storyboard and script, and end with a call to action. You can host it on Vimeo or YouTube, so people are comfortable opening it.

9. Ensure the “About” section is well written

Boilerplates at the end of news releases provide basic company info that journalists often need. Avoid salesy language and clearly explain key elements like products and services, customers, company location and size, missions and accolades. You may also want to add a call to action linking to your website and keywords for SEO.

10. Time your news effectively

 Issuing a news release at the right time helps avoid being lost among the clutter. It can be best to avoid Mondays, Friday afternoons or the weekends when journalists may not be working.  Also, consider issuing your news just before or after the stock market opens. Time zones are another factor to consider. Ideal times may differ for different industries, so learn the important times and dates of your vertical.

Most journalists’ inboxes are overflowing, so it’s vital to ensure every piece of a news release is crafted exceptionally. This could be the difference that makes your news heard.

By Robert Brownlie, Bob Gold & Associates

About the Author

Robert Brownlie is an integral part of the team at Bob Gold & Associates (BG&A) located in Los Angeles, California. Robert leads numerous technology accounts, including NiceLabel and Opengear. Prior to joining BG&A, Robert’s professional experiences include editing and creating technical documents, proposals and marketing materials for healthcare IT and civil engineers. Before entering the compelling world of public relations and business-to-business communication, Robert tutored English grammar at Long Beach City College and attended California State University Long Beach, where he graduated with a degree in English and Technical Communications. His background enables him to effectively write and pitch content for clients and contribute to results-driven marketing and communications strategies.

CSR & business: it’s time to take action!

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CSR & business: it’s time to take action!

Faced with the unprecedented tensions generated by the health and economic crisis linked to the coronavirus, organizations must now urgently question their purpose and their way of operating. This is important not only so that they can prosper, but also so that they can be prepared to face future challenges and crises that we can already anticipate (climatic, economic, etc.).

But how can organizations restore meaning to their actions and bring confidence to their stakeholders and to society as a whole?

Compliance with CSR is not enough. Far from it.

The first major lesson to be learned from this crisis is that respecting a CSR commitment is not enough to ensure that organizations are prepared for the problems that may affect their activities and society in general.

For years, companies have complied with CSR constraints in an opportunistic and cosmetic manner without necessarily adhering to them or devoting much effort to them. Some have been forced to develop CSR policies and reports because of anti-corruption or local laws. Others have done a kind of “CSR washing” by communicating on basic initiatives far from having the real impact that real fundamental changes and investments could have on society and the environment.

And it is clear that these “small measures” are showing their limits today. Even companies practising what is called “flexibility at work” have found it difficult to set up fast and functional teleworking mechanisms, because they have not really invested in the adequate infrastructures. Only a few have been able to anticipate and react to support their workforce and maintain their supply chains.

This shows how organizations must go much further than what is recommended, required or dictated by law. To truly prepare for the changes in our world (global warming, biodiversity crisis, social, health or economic crises), they must do more and be prepared to absorb greater impacts. It is crucial to allocate more resources to identify risks, but also and above all to have open and transparent discussions with all stakeholders and to build a relationship of trust.

Companies also need to be more resilient and adaptable. To achieve this, the resources and decision-making powers allocated to CSR managers must be increased so that they can develop projects with a high impact on the organization’s core business rather than superficial actions.

Workplace flexibility is not just an “employer brand” argument

The other big lesson of this crisis is that emphasizing flexibility in the workplace should not just be an excuse to attract talent or get a good reputation. Many companies’ efforts to build an employer brand are exposed as a false nose if they are not supported by a true CSR culture.

For example, the coronavirus crisis shows us to what extent it is companies that have really adopted home working arrangements that are well thought out and take into account the human impact on the quality of life at work and also the environmental impact within the framework of a global CSR policy that has fared best. These companies had the time to learn what worked best and to set up control and production processes that not only guarantee optimized business continuity but also have a positive impact on the environment, which is at the heart of CSR concerns.

Because even if this is not replicable for all positions and all activities, the current crisis is proving to us that our company is able to function without having to drive to work and without the associated carbon emissions. It is regrettable that it has taken this “health incentive” to force the hand of many companies, but we must also hope that these companies will finally adopt genuine mobility policies that will, at last, make it possible to reduce our CO2 emissions, relieve transport congestion and improve the quality of life of the millions of employees who want to reconcile their professional and private lives.

A responsible corporate culture is not a luxury

“Thanks to” the coronavirus, we were finally able to measure the extent to which corporate culture was fundamental in reacting to a crisis.

Employee engagement and the creation of a strong corporate culture are key to demonstrating the value of its organizational ecosystem. Fairness, pay equity and management practices based on trust are founding elements in creating a culture of tolerance, openness, solidarity and resilience.

It is therefore obvious, in the light of current events, that a CSR policy can no longer be a posture but a reality because, once the crisis is over, we will have to take stock and, hopefully, based on the observation that the most virtuous companies have been better able to face the crisis, rethink their operating methods in order to instil more responsible cultures. To prepare managers, define an ethical charter or create fairer internal practices, organizations will have to be rebuilt from within and in-depth. And at the centre of these changes, CSR actors will have a central role to play.

by Alexis Noal, Senior Brand Strategist, Oxygen