In Blog, lessons

Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each week, we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This week: an announcement from US retailer Target about the launch of a technology partnership with Pinterest.

Target is adding Pinterest’s visual search tool to its app and website – TechCrunch

Obviously, this is not a true press release because this announcement was made in a post on Target’s corporate blog. However, we have seen this preference more often lately so we thought it was worth some discussion.

The news was picked up by big tech and marketing publications including TechCrunch and Ad Age, as well as business media such as Business Insider, Business Review and The Wall Street Journal.

Why did the media like this story so much and what can we learn from the announcement and the PR tactics used by Target?

What Works:
  • Exclusivity. Target gave the news exclusively to The Wall Street Journal. Announcing news exclusively or giving a specific outlet a head start can be a smart move, particularly with smaller stories. Journalists love scoops, and are more likely to cover your story if it’s an exclusive. Also, exclusives give you a better chance of controlling the message because you will be working closely with the reporter writing the story.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Poor Use of News Hooks. In the absence of a press release, other media outlets were dependent on Target’s post published on its corporate blog ‘A Bullseye View’. The conversational nature of this post works well for customers, but it makes it hard for journalists to determine whether they should cover the story. Target’s use of Pinterest Lens is an industry first, which ties into the visual search technology trend, but these powerful news hooks were not prominent in the post. Even a blog announcement should make good use of news hooks by placing them in the headline and first paragraph.
What We’ve Learned: Choose Your News Release Method Wisely

Think carefully before you publish news only through a blog. Target may have wanted to show loyalty to its customers with a post that focused on how Pinterest Lens will improve their shopping experience. But, if you also want the media to care, you need to publish your message loud and clear and play up your news hooks. If the media’s attention isn’t captured in the first few lines, as in Target’s case, you may miss the bullseye.

Check out Target’s blog announcement here and let me know in the comments section below why you think the media liked this story and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Marcel van de Hoef is co-founder of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and medium-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.

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