Marketing communications. I’ve defined it, I’ve discussed some of the elements that fall under it, and now I’m going to give you an example of what not to do, using the element of press (or news) releases.
I once worked for a company that provides products, services, and technology to other companies in the oil and gas industry. It’s a good company with a lot of people who care about what they are doing.
With that said, there’s always those one or two bad apples. It’s just life.
At this company, public relations and media relations fell under the marketing communications umbrella. Press releases were turned into social media news releases, which regularly included hot links, photos, videos as appropriate and/or available. Relationships were built with industry journalists. Research was done to ensure the stories and news pitched to them fit their particular magazine and readership.
Marketing Communications and Press Releases: A Cautionary Tale
As stated, public relations and media relations were two items that fell under the marketing communications umbrella.
One person in the sales and marketing group believed she knew more about marketing communications than she actually did.
The example (cautionary tale): A press release – a social media news release – was approved for distribution by all of the appropriate people, and was sent out to the industry media.
The next day, the self-proclaimed expert decided that a change needed to be made to the release (which was in no way a part of her responsibilities). She sent over a new version, copying leadership, stating that it needed to be distributed.
After sending the email, she walked into my office and said to me, “Just send this new version to all the journalists telling them to ignore the previous version and to use this one. Don’t worry, just put all of their email addresses in the BCC: line. It’s easy.”
Did your jaw just drop? I kid you not, this is a true story.
Needless to say, I ignored the whole situation, especially since the updated version didn’t affect the message or true description of the product.
Why Did I Share This Tale?
I shared this cautionary tale because many times marketing communications has to be the one to ensure that the quality of the product and the external messaging is high. Everything shared externally is representative of your brand, and will influence whether or not a potential customer wants to do business with you and your company.
Wasting a journalist’s time is not the way to gain exposure and build your company’s reputation.