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Is it Appropriate to Send a B2B Press Release Right Now?

You asked. We’re answering.

Last week we asked for your questions around marketing during the Coronavirus outbreak. We were blown away with the response and received more than 30 questions from our network. Each week in our #PRbrief, we will answer your questions.

Media relations was a hot topic, and a common theme involved how businesses can still work with the media, specifically if B2B communications are appropriate. The question, “Is it appropriate to send a B2B press release right now?” is something that many of you are asking, and we have some recommendations to help you navigate your next steps.

Question: Is it appropriate to send a B2B press release now?

Answer: Obviously, COVID-19 media coverage is massive and like nothing we’ve seen in recent times. The image below illustrates what we’re seeing in the media landscape right now compared to other outbreaks.

covid mentions in the media

However, while it might feel like all news is COVID-19 related, there are still opportunities for media coverage outside of the Coronavirus conversation.

As media relations professionals, we believe who you pitch is just as important as what you pitch. What we mean by this is that we’d never advise you to take your press release and mass distribute it to a generic media list. This tactic is called spray and pray, and we don’t practice it, ever.

True media relations professionals know that when you wish to distribute a press release to the media, you should always develop a custom list that includes media outlets and the specific journalists, editors, news directors, and producers who cover the specific beat or topic that aligns with your news.

Here, we will break down how you should interact with different types of news media during this time.

For B2B trade media outlets or your industry media – they are still covering trade news. Continue to refer to the editorial calendars, if available, and pitch related stories. They’ll also be covering COVID-19-related industry news. So, if you have an opportunity to add value to that conversation, contact the publication editor or any outlet reporter you have worked with in the past.

B2C media outlets (T.V., Radio, Major Daily Newspapers) – this is where we’re seeing the biggest shift. The majority of these media outlets are dedicating staff and resources to Coronavirus coverage. So, if you have a features-focused story outside of the current crisis, you will likely have a harder time getting your story covered.

Now is a time to think outside your “media box” and explore niche media outlets. Is there a popular industry blog or podcast that would be great place for you to share your story or thought leadership piece? Focus some of your time researching and developing relationships with these groups.

If you land a story with a mass media outlet, keep in mind that many stations are also practicing social distancing to protect their employees. Most TV studios are closed to in-person guests, and assignment reporters are reporting from their home. The majority of media interviews are taking place remotely, via phone or video, so prepare your spokespeople appropriately.

When it comes time to contact the media about your company, especially if you reach out to a reporter for the first time, be thoughtful about your approach. Remember, we are all human and living through this pandemic together. It’s important to acknowledge our current state before you dive into your pitch or press release.

There you have it. You asked and we answered. While the situation is fluid and constantly changing, we hope to provide some marketing clarity for your team during this crisis. Check back next week for another question answered in our #PRbrief column.

Have another burning question? Submit it to me at tara@goelement.com.

View the links below for related topics we’ve recently covered in our #PRbriefs:

Business as Usual? How to Know When and What to Communicate in Time of Crisis

4 Ways to Leverage Social Media in a Period of Social Distancing

3 Tips for Effectively Communicating in the Wake of Coronavirus


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