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Despite the fact that traditional media is dying, I think we are all familiar with the bog-standard Press Release. Just as its name says, it is the document that you send out to the press (or in 21st century terms, the media) with news about your company that you hope they will find interesting enough to publish in their newspaper, magazine, or other publication.
It is brief, impersonal, and generally adheres to traditional (read: old) journalistic standards, all of which are not things a blog post should be. Your blog is your direct line to your customers/users/fans, and you can write those articles however you want.
And you should. Jennie Smythe, founder of Girlilla Marketing says:
“Every company is unique and therefore should have a unique voice online. Social networks are supposed to be social and interactive, so generally a first person account is always most compelling. Share the news of what’s in the release, but personalize it. Then link to the release from your website or an outside outlet. If you are just posting to post without the intent to have a conversation or a mutually beneficial relationship, don’t bother posting. Like with any ‘real’ relationship, if you only talk and don’t listen… you are rude."
If you're guilty of using press releases in your blog, don't be too upset. You can still repurpose that content for your blog. Here are some easy things you can do:
- Remove all old-school press release requirements. This includes “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE”, the city of origin, and the “###” at the end. These do not translate to a digital environment or a blog.
- Rewrite your headline to be more conversational. Think about how you would like to see it appear on Facebook or Twitter if someone were to share the article.
- Revise the body content. Is it in third person? Make it first person instead; remember, this is a conversation between you and your readers, not a cold newspaper article. Did you have to sacrifice some of your content for brevity or clarity? Consider adding it back in, with explanatory links if necessary. The magic of the web means you can link to outside sources. No newspaper or magazine can do that.
- Get rid of the boilerplate information. There’s nothing worse than seeing a whole slew of blog articles that all have the same “About Acme Widgets” content at the end. All that information – company history, contact information, etc. – should already be on your website anyway.
People are reading your blog because they want to engage with you. Don’t push them away with impersonal press releases masquerading as blog posts.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons