Marketing a Company Using Personnel News Releases
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” –
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Though many companies use them with great results, personnel news releases are possibly among the most undervalued marketing communications tools available.
I am sometimes asked what purpose personnel news releases serve beyond generating sales calls from the likes of life insurance agents and image consultants. I have been asked if personnel releases actually generate worthwhile publicity, to which I have responded with a resounding “Yes!”
Personnel news releases promote a company’s competitive stance.
Admit it. You want to know who the movers and shakers in your industry are. After all, how can you be competitive if you don’t investigate who holds the top spots? To be in the know, you read the announcement sections of your local newspaper and business journal in addition to the professional news section of your trade journals. What you read there are the results of companies issuing personnel news releases.
Personnel news releases can ensure that a company benefits from message frequency and from being in the right place at the right time.
Personnel news releases help keep a company’s name in front of its publics, including potential recruits, prospective customers and other influentials. The more often people see the company’s name in a positive light, the more they are familiar with its business, which increases the likelihood of them wanting to know more about the company in general. This, in turn, promotes unaided recall; the company is among the first that come to mind when a person is in need of its products or services.
The benefits of message frequency extend to the editorial community as well, whereby being in the right place at the right time can lead to the inclusion of the initiating company in feature and trend articles.
Personnel news releases can lead to other marketing communications opportunities.
Imagine that your personnel news release or the published announcement is read by a speaker’s bureau coordinator for an upcoming industry conference who needs to fill a speaker’s slot. Your well-timed personnel release announcing the kind of expertise needed can land the perfect speaking opportunity.
The publicity from a personnel news release might also lead to invitations (or solicitations) for networking opportunities via charity organizations, new professional associations, advisory panels, etc.
Okay, you’ve published your personnel news releases, how else can you use the information?
Efficient and skilled communicators use the information included in personnel news releases to develop a variety of other marketing communications and sales materials. Here are some suggested uses:
• Excerpt information and create short biographies to introduce team members when making sales calls, meeting with outside influentials, or when building community relations.
• Submit releases as part of applications for speaking engagements or presentations.
• Use the background information from each release to find people in the organization who have special talents or experience in specific areas.
• Use the personnel news releases to create handy reference sheets that can be used to introduce employees to the media as experts on certain topics.
• Post personnel news releases on the company intranet to announce new employees to the rest of the company.
• Promote internal employee relations by publishing interesting details contained within personnel news releases in company newsletters.
• Post the announcement to your social media channels. Personnel related posts are frequently enjoy the most audience engagement, including clicks, shares and comments, especially on LinkeIn and Facebook.
How do you optimize personnel news release distribution?
It is essential to send personnel news releases to all the media contacts who normally receive news from your company. This includes horizontal business and news outlets as well as vertical trade outlets. To expand coverage, personnel news releases can also be distributed to:
• the employees’ hometown newspapers.
• the employees’ alumni publications.
• community associations (in which the company or the employees have membership).
• professional, church or non-profit organizations (in which the company or the employees have membership).
What goes into personnel news releases?
Basic information is provided in a personnel news release: the person’s new title, a brief description of the person’s new responsibilities, prior work experience, educational background, community and professional associations involvement and, if desired, the person’s marital and family status as well as place of residence.
Some public relations professionals will also include a quote from the subject’s supervisor or the head of the company commenting on the company’s expectations for his or her future performance. The quote might also comment on the subject’s demonstrated abilities and accomplishments.
The personnel news release is issued by the hiring company and includes a brief description – or boilerplate – of its business mission, headquarters and contact information.
In summary, since these are news releases, not paid advertisements, media outlets are not obligated to publish them at all, particularly if they are tight on space. However, creating a personnel release is worthwhile for the reasons outlined above.
Personnel news releases tell others that your company is successful. They give you an opportunity to include information on the company’s growth and ties to industry trends. They underscore the caliber of your employees. They can lead to other editorial opportunities, and they are useful in creating other sales and marketing or internal communications materials.
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Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, is the owner of St. Conti Communications (www.stconticommunications.com), a marketing communications consultancy in Mission Viejo, Calif. St. Jean Conti works with client companies and as a subcontractor to public relations agencies. She can be reached at 949-290-0622 or dconti(at)StContiCommunications.com.