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You Have Stories to Tell

Are you sending out enough news and other content to the trade press regularly? If your company has more than a handful of products and yet your last press release was in February of last year, the answer is probably “no.”


“Wait a minute! Aren’t we always reading marketing and PR articles that say editors hate getting inundated by too many press releases, too much crazy content?”


Excellent question! However, a better question is, “What is the rule for determining whether we should or should not send a press release or other content to the trade press?”


“Is it newsworthy? Does it apply to the editor we’re sending it to? Does it actually say anything?”


Exactly!


You DO have stories to tell!


Maybe you are too close to your products to be able to be truly impartial. You deal with them every day. Nothing that your company or products do or say can really surprise you. That is why you either need to consult an outside authority like Fueston & Associates or train yourself to think like an outsider.


In our experience, all companies have stories to tell, have news to report. Talk to us—or any other good agency—and I’ll bet we can uncover stories customers want to read.


I remember one client that I visited several years ago. His company made just one product, albeit in different sizes. I told him we needed to get more content out the door, and he said, “Matt, I’m tellin’ ya! We’ve said it all! I don’t have anything new to talk about.” We went for a walk across his enormous equipment yard, heading back to his office.


Just chatting, by the time we sat down in his office I had three new story ideas. Each one ended up in a prominent trade publication.


He had the stories, but he was too close to them to notice. Plus, unlike me, he doesn’t think primarily in terms of storytelling.


What about upsetting or overwhelming the editors?


Remember, editors aren’t against press releases or stories—they just don’t want stories that don’t make sense, will take hours to re-write, are poorly researched, sound like a sales pitch, or don’t address their demographic. They need stories to keep their magazines full, interesting, and relevant. They want your stories! All media today is content-hungry!


How much is enough—or too much?


It depends on your company, the size of your market, the number of products and different categories you have, and the industries in which you play. But in general, for medium-to-larger companies with multiple categories, if you don’t send out, on average, at least one piece of content to the trade press per month, you are likely overlooking something. (Obviously, if you have just a few products, this number may be smaller.)


Nothing communicates your message better than well-written longer-form content


And at least a few times per year, you need to commission an application story or case study to submit to the trade press as an editorial piece. Writing and overall journalistic standards must be at least as high as those of the magazines, but given that, your stories will find a home. This will help to keep your message and your company at the top of your potential customers’ consciousness.


When it comes to press releases, we’ll take it as a given that you’re not trying to publish one that says no more than, “Hey! Here we are! Woo-hoo!” But any real info that you have that is ready to share with the trade—be it a new product, an upgrade to an existing product, a new location, or a new vice-president of something—is information that the editor wants to know and to share.


Bottom line


If you don’t have the time to stay on top of PR/content, have someone else internally or externally handle it for you. It is just too important to let slide for 6 months, as I’ve seen on many equipment manufacturers’ websites. Or a year. Or two. Or more, in some cases.


If you need help, give me a call—maybe my team can steer you in the right direction even if you don’t end up as our client!

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