PR and Communications Sales

Are Press Releases Really a Sales Tool?

Press releases are a fantastic asset for both marketing and sales, but should they be considered more of a sales enablement piece or marketing asset? The consensus answer from the “Press Release” unconference session held on Day 2 of Virtual HITMC20 – Part Deux, was that more often than not, they are cherished sales pieces rather than marketing assets.

Vanity vs Media Press Releases

Scott Collins, President of Aria Marketing, led the unconference session and guided the group in a deep dive into the world of press releases. One of the first things he pointed out was that there are different types of press releases:

  • Media Press Releases are designed to entice members of the media to write a whole story about news/announcement being made or have a quote or mention included in an article. Often these types of releases are sent across newswire services.
  • Vanity Press Releases are solely for the benefit of the organization and are intended to showcase success. Typically, these releases are posted to the organization’s website and not forwarded to media contacts. These types of releases help with website SEO and are valuable for companies raising capital (if releases are posted consistently to the website).

Vanity Press Releases are Sales Enablement Pieces

Customer signings, achieving revenue milestones, product enhancements and new partnerships are all typical topics for Vanity Press Releases. If you visit the website of any privately held Health IT company, you will undoubtedly find these releases in the “News” section.

“Sales teams love these types of press releases,” said Collins. “They use them as proof points to prospects they are working with.”

As a former (reformed?) salesperson, I remember sending out dozens of emails to prospects in my pipeline whenever a new press release hit our website. At the time, I didn’t know (or care) about the difference between a Media and Vanity press release, I just saw it as a great excuse to email someone and stay top-of-mind.

“I know many salespeople who use these types of press releases when they are asked about reference customers or customers of similar size to the prospect they are presenting to,” remarked one unconference participant.

Tips for Press Releases

Drawing on his years of PR experience, Collins shared numerous tips for press releases during the unconference. Here are just a few:

  • Maintain credibility through the entire press release. You cannot be too salesy. Once the reader gets the sense that you are trying to sell them something in a press release they’ll immediately stop reading.
  • Be factual in the body of the press release. Save opinions for the quote.
  • Don’t waste facts by putting them in a quote. Save those for the body copy.
  • It’s not necessary to say you are excited or glad to be doing business with Company X or Customer Y in a quote. That’s a given…and a waste of a quote.
  • Have the basic components: Facts, background, supporting quotes, an “about” section, and media contact

There is still time to register for Day 3 and 4 of Virtual HITMC20 – Part Deux. There are some incredible sessions and unconference sessions coming up!

About the author

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Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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The Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) is an extension of the HITMC conference that is the first of its kind event that brings together marketing and PR professionals from throughout the health care community. We strive to provide amazing marketing and PR related content that helps HealthIT companies and healthcare organizations  stand out amidst all the noise of the industry. If you’re looking to market to hospital executives, doctors, practice managers, patients, or other healthcare professionals, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the HITMC community!