It’s not unusual for an organization to issue similar announcements across a variety of markets. Whether announcing award recipients, regional services or a multi-city tour, developing localized press releases with similar themes for multiple markets is a common and necessary PR tactic, and using a template for the messages has long been standard practice.
However, PR Newswire’s new copy quality guidelines caution against using templates, and for good reason. Google’s recent Panda update targeted low quality content, and multiple redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations were specifically cited as indicators of low quality content.
So what’s a PR pro to do when faced with the task of creating similar announcements for multiple markets? Here are some tips for developing messages that won’t be flagged as low quality content and (bonus!) are more likely to garner the attention of journalists, bloggers and local audiences:
- Create unique messages. Each headline, subhead and lead paragraph need to be significantly different – merely changing names of cities or people in each isn’t enough.
- Emphasize different story angles. For example, if you’re announcing special events at a variety of hotel locations across the nation, emphasize different aspects of each location – e.g. shopping on the Mag Mile in Chicago, touring historic neighborhoods in Boston, waterfront attractions in San Francisco, etc.
- Localize and further differentiate content by including real quotes from people on the ground in each market.
- Include market-specific visuals, such as pictures of a local storefronts, individual award recipients, etc.
- As much as possible, encourage social sharing of the content by local contacts.
- Stagger distribution. Don’t unleash a spate of similar messages all at once.
- Rethink your approach entirely. Instead distributing press releases over the newswire for each market, build more public awareness by creating a rich, compelling and highly visual multimedia press release that tells the whole story. Then use your media database to identify relevant media and bloggers in the region, and send them market-specific details directly via email. (Here’s a great example from Honda, announcing the Honda Stage Festival.)
There’s no doubt that creating unique, quality content is more time consuming that simply using a template to crank out messages, but audiences value rich content, causing Google (and PR Newswire) to raise the bar on content quality. To deliver the best results for the organization, creating unique and useful content is imperative.