Press releases are a tactic that was extremely popular in the past but has dwindled as PR has evolved. In fact, I know that a lot of people -; admittedly, myself included at one time -; like to proclaim certain traditional communications methods completely dead and gone. New technologies and trends emerge, and it’s tempting to say certain communications approaches are no longer relevant.

But honestly, there’s a reason press releases remain a part of the public relations equation: They’re simple to put together, they’re inexpensive to create and distribute, and they get the word out about your company’s important news. For public companies, sometimes they are even required.

Still, press releases can’t do everything for your PR strategy. That’s because they depend on your company consistently doing groundbreaking, newsworthy things. As successful as your company may be, you probably aren’t releasing world-changing new products and services every month.

So the question becomes: What do you do to maintain media attention and engage with new audiences even when you’re not always doing truly newsworthy things?

Press releases have been essential to public relations for a long time, but they can only take you so far in your PR efforts. If they’re the primary means you’re using to build brand awareness, reach new audiences, and earn trust with your key stakeholders, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential value. To make your PR strategy more effective, you need more than just press releases. Here are three other tactics to add to your PR plan:

1. Truly invest in thought leadership content.

Content is essential to boosting your credibility, and it can help you reach and engage new audiences. But there’s even more to it than that. Content and PR actually complement each other really well. Creating original thought leadership content can give anyone on the internet the chance to find your content and use a quote from it for an article, reach out to you for a new press opportunity, or link to your site as a resource.

In other words, your content can help you earn press mentions organically. Plus, if you have some content under your own name, pitching journalists will be easier because you’ll prove yourself to be a credible source when they search for more information about you.

2. Provide expert quotes.

Another way to earn press attention is to lend your expertise through services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which helps journalists find potential sources for their upcoming stories. Services like this send you emails with requests from journalists, and all you have to do is reply with your quote to potentially earn a mention from a reporter at a reputable outlet.

You can even take this offline by networking with leaders, subject matter experts, and media contacts at industry events. While at these events, ask for quotes to write articles of your own, and be ready to give quotes, too. By taking this approach, you’ll help build your relationships with those contacts -; turning a simple conversation or an expert quote into a potential lead or a future resource for press mentions or other content. 

3. Pitch your own content ideas to media contacts.

According to “The State of Digital Media 2018,” 56 percent of publication editors say irrelevant content that doesn’t fit their audience is the biggest reason they reject pitches. So beyond sending expert quotes or creating content under your own name, consider pitching articles with relevant, helpful content to media contacts.

Your pitches can be a summary with relevant bullet points or even a full article draft that meets the publication’s guidelines. The point is, you want to send your media contacts the content they need to engage their audience.

An article pitch isn’t the same as a press release. That would probably fall under the “irrelevant” category that will get your content rejected. Instead, you pitch engaging, valuable ideas that directly relate to the publication’s readers. By helping your contacts meet their goal of engaging their readers with high-quality content, you can build better press relationships and earn mentions in those articles.

Public relations is an important part of your company’s branding and communications strategy, and effectively promoting your business requires more than writing a press release when something newsworthy occurs and hoping someone picks up the story. Instead, consider using content to establish your company’s expertise and truly help your media contacts. That way, the next time you do create and send out a press release, journalists will clamor to tell your story.

Published on: Oct 14, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.