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2021: The year of the media release

Quality communication needs to be at the top of your business wish list for 2021.

January is always a good time to review what your business does well – and where it could improve. And chances are, your corporate communications strategy could benefit from a revamp.

According to a 2020 survey by small business lender (and Corpwrite client) OnDeck, 73% of business owners say “being a good communicator” is the leading attribute for business success; 14% say communication is the “most important” quality.

Yet many businesses fail to communicate effectively or give scant attention to a communications strategy.

In today’s disrupted environment, communication is especially important. Consider these findings[1]:

59% of businesses across the Asia Pacific use their communications campaigns to enhance brand influence. The remaining 41% focus on sales conversion and growth
70% of businesses say news websites are the preferred communications channel
85% of businesses prefer press releases rather than social media or announcements on corporate websites to share significant business developments or promote a new product/service.

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Your country needs you: Write a media release

I freely admit I’m a news junkie. I spend a lot of time (too much really) sifting through online news. But you don’t have to slavishly follow the newsfeed to know that COVID-19 has dominated headlines for much of 2020.

Yes, it’s critical for everyone to stay up to date with the latest on the Coronavirus. But right now, I suspect plenty of Australians are keen to hear other news stories.

As evidence of this, on 1 May the top ten topics trending on Google included the re-launch of a popular lip gloss, the re-opening of pubs in the Northern Territory, and the fast-tracked return of that iconic confection, the Polly Waffle.

It goes to show that even in the midst of a pandemic, people are still hungry for variety in the media.

This is where you come in. If your business has a story to tell, why not tell it through a media release? You don’t have to be an ASX 200-listed company to merit media attention. In fact, it often amazes me just how many news articles are pretty obviously drawn from a press release.

If you think about it, it makes sense.  News outlets need a continual flow of content. And they need it to be low cost. The days when teams of Clark Kent-style reporters chased the latest scoop are behind us.

The challenge is that plenty of other businesses are also vying for media attention. So your media release needs to stand out. That means having something newsworthy to say.

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In hibernation, communication keeps you connected to customers

In hibernation, communication keeps you connected to customers

The best decision I’ve made so far in 2020 was taking my 13-year-old son to London. It was a blast – but amid all the history and hustle of London, it was the squirrels that enchanted Nicholas.

A particular point of interest was the way squirrels hibernate during the UK’s cold winter. Frankly, I suspected the Hyde Park squirrels long ago ditched any notion of hibernation, preferring instead to live off the rich pickings of London’s year-round tourist trade. Nonetheless, I explained that squirrels stock up on nuts in summer to survive the leaner months.

When Nick asked how they know to prepare for hibernation, I was flummoxed. Maybe squirrels hand the message down across generations. Maybe it’s instinctive. Whatever the case, they do it, and it works.

So, I was intrigued when just weeks later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested that Australian businesses should go into hibernation as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.

It was a euphemistic way of saying “shut down until this is all passes by”. The trouble is, hibernation isn’t on the agenda of any business. It’s doubtful that even the best-laid continuity plans anticipate a near-total closure of activities for months on end.

The bottom line is that unlike squirrels, businesses don’t have a proverbial stash of nuts to get through the Coronavirus winter.

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