Building Strength by Establishing a Proactive Press Release Plan
- A well planned news calendar helps project the best light on the company’s high- priority initiatives
- Tight interlock with marketing, campaign and product teams keeps the release calendar up-to- date and helps it serve as a strategic planning tool
- Consider press release significance, variety and timing when evaluating the upcoming press release schedule
Bootcamp-style exercise classes are a grueling yet effective way to strengthen muscles. For each class, the instructor carefully identifies and groups exercises in a set based on the muscles he or she wishes to target. Some instructors intentionally group exercises for target areas together to produce a deliberate muscle fatigue response. But when it comes to B2B public relations, too much news or news that’s too heavily focused on one area could do more harm than good.
Whether you are a one-person public relations team or a team of many, creating a news calendar and managing a proactive press release strategy, often referred to as taking a “rolling thunder” approach, helps organize the flow of press releases and their current stage of readiness.
A well-balanced news calendar helps project the best external light on the company’s high-priority initiatives and, internally, conveys a well-thought out communication strategy to support the full breadth of company news, regardless of the topic or timing.
The challenge that most PR practitioners face is ferreting out high-quality news pieces from a deluge of PR requests and planning their release accordingly. As the marketing, campaigns and product teams develop their annual plans, be sure to inquire about any new solutions, events and growth plans they anticipate for the year. Start to build out a rolling thunder plan with holding places for those key events. Establish regular meetings with each team to review the anticipated news schedule and adjust as needed. Be sure to record any changes in timing or news requirements. It is not uncommon for a news item to be pushed back several weeks or months, and you want to have a record of the justification or related hurdles.
Here are additional considerations for establishing your press release cadence:
- Significance. The more strategic or dynamic the news, the more “elbow room” you want to keep around that press release. Significant press releases require more hand-holding from the corporate communications team and present the best opportunity for attracting strong media results. If the release is not significant and competes with other news, consider opting for social programming as an alternative to a formally wire-issued press release. The last thing you want is a minor press release to steal the spotlight from your major news item.
- Timing. In general, press releases should be spaced a minimum of one to two weeks apart for optimal influencer relations. There may be occasions when it is necessary to issue more than one release in a given week. When that happens, carefully review each press release to see if the news items can be combined into one broader story for media pitching purposes.
- Variety. As a PR practitioner, you can review the calendar for balance with a rolling thunder approach. As the following questions during review: Does the calendar reflect news supporting the company’s key priorities? Is balanced, or is it too heavily weighted on one area – or perhaps even missing another area altogether? Can you connect or couple some of the releases to make them more powerful? Are press releases for marketing campaigns accounted for here? Asking these questions during regular review of the calendar improves the overall news pipeline.
While the press release calendar is just one component of a comprehensive communications plan, it gives public relations professionals the strategic advantage to shape, shift and augment the anticipated news to garner the most exposure.