Whether you are a first-time author of a press release or seasoned professional, it’s easy to get so carried away as excitement builds over a promotional opportunity that we may easily forget to take a step back and consider the need for a reality check. Before rushing into a PR campaign or crafting a single news announcement on behalf of a hedge fund, asset allocator or service provider to the alternative investment community, consider a rundown or checklist of communication tips and traps highlighted below.
Essential guidelines covering content, structure and process:
• Will the content of your release matter to readers outside your firm? Is the content new? Would you tell your industry contacts about this announcement? If the story is not informative, objective, valuable and timely business news relevant to your audience, you may want to consider revising your release or using the message in a different context. Newsworthy content is the most critical editorial guideline and a primary factor for sharing.
• Does your release content include multi-media? Photos, videos, infographics and colorful illustrations are all motivational factors for readers to share, especially via social media channels. Multi-media links and/or video embedded within the release provide easily sharable content that will add impact to text content and facilitate sharing, especially important for tweeting and further engagement (vs. a one-way communication).
• Is your headline concise and compelling? This part of the release is the key determinant for readers to continue digesting the message. It should be descriptive and not exceed approx. 100 characters. Short headlines work best for easy tweeting.
• Does your first paragraph tell the story? All information should be summarized in the first paragraph, followed by supporting information in the rest of the release. Be succinct throughout, avoiding industry buzzwords and remaining as objective as possible.
• Have you included quotes? Use two quotes if possible, each with proper punctuation and attribution (source name, title, firm) in order to reflect a human element and offer insights that are more conversational than dry statements.
• What about links and contacts? Be sure to include applicable links to your organization’s website, beginning in the first paragraph. The source organization’s media contact(s) should be listed at the end of the release including phone and email as needed for follow-up interviews and further information. Double-check the links, avoid mistakes.
• Have the basics been covered? Keep in mind that it’s generally advantageous to cast a wide distribution net. However, before disseminating your release, be sure to address these essentials:
i. News source: name of firm or organization identified a primary subject of the release before submitting to a distribution platform.
ii. Timing: Distribution on Tuesdays through Thursdays may offer the highest metrics but Mondays are also popular and the 8:00-9:00 a.m. timeframe is busiest. However, an off-time may be worth considering if tested.
• Is the release compliant? If the announcement is on behalf of a fund manager, be sure to avoid broadcasting a private placement / Reg. D fund launch or product-specific information via widespread written dissemination unless checking with the appropriate compliance advisor or legal counsel in advance.
• How can the content be re-purposed? After the initial release, don’t forget to increase the mileage and return on investment by re-purposing content including:
i. Posting the announcement to websites and/or blogs where available;
ii. Sharing on social media channels, especially the visual and multi-media elements.
• Did you engage your target audience? Track the metrics. Analyze the performance using 3 key indicators: reach (where the release was sent), access (how users found the release, follow-up web clips) and engagement (links, sharing, interaction via social media).
How does Communication Alpha® benefit your marketing strategy? Stay tuned for additional communication tips and traps. Prior articles available via Hedge Connection include “Communication Tips and Traps: Five Common Traps” and “A Medley of Marketing Advice.” Communication Alpha® is a registered trademark of HS Marketing, LLC.