Press Releases and Strategy

I advise CEOs to personally craft their company strategy. My favorite way to do this is not to write a 20 page document that no one will ever read, but simply to make a list of all the press release headlines they hope to issue during the next two years. What key announcements do they hope to make? Partnerships? Key Hires? Revenue Growth Announcements? Funding Events?

You can do this in a few hours.

One exercise Stephen Covey uses is to have you write your own obituary–what do you hope is said about you when you pass on?–and then you try to live your life accordingly.

For a CEO, mentally creating the plans of the company they are building is critical. But I find it very difficult to get CEOs to take the time to do this. I did this for Ancestry.com in 1998 and it is absolutely amazing six years later to see how many of the announcements that I envisioned actually happened. Most happened a few years later than I predicted (and the IPO still hasn’t happened!), but having the strategy on paper really helped me make significant contributions to the company.

Many startup CEOs do not have a well thought-out strategic plan. (It takes a ton of competitive and market research to know with certainty how you should proceed.) And many startup companies are very, very poor at telling their story through press releases.

In the internet era, you can consistently tell your story through press releases on your web site, without paying fees to PR agencies. As a startup you don’t need to pay $10,000 per month to have an agency write press releases and use their media contacts to get story placements. Unless of course you can afford this.

But for a few hundred dollars per month you can have releases written for your web site and for distribution on free press release services, including PRweb.com which gets indexed by Google News every day.

Press releases are useful for informing potential employees, business partners, customers, and investors about your company’s story. Usually when I want to learn about a company, I go to their web site and check their press releases. In a few minutes I can learn a great deal about them. If they don’t have any press releases, I assume they are a tiny player. Is that what you want people to think of your company?

I’m working on a new company that will help startups create their PR-based strategic plan and then issue regular releases for a very low monthly fee. I’d like every Infobase Ventures company to sign up for this service. I know dozens of other small businesses that need this. Then, when companies grow big enough, they can graduate to a real PR agency and tell the story widely through the press in addition to the direct PR on their own site.

Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about this new low-cost PR service. (One good way to reach me is paulballen “at” yahoo.com)

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