Over the years, Inside Edge PR clients have occasionally asked why my agency goes to such lengths to provide comprehensive news releases that can (and often do) gain word-for-word placement in respected publications.
My response flows from more than 20 years on staff or as an active freelance writer for newspapers and other publications: newsrooms are notoriously understaffed and overworked.
So anything that comes across with journalistic style and content has a huge advantage over typical news release puffery that more closely resemble advertising copy. (Having been on the receiving end of thousands of news releases in my career, trust me--I'm being kind.)
After being a journalist for so long, finding actual news hooks is automatic. If I can't identify one, then a news release simply doesn't happen. Of course, within 15 minutes of speaking with a prospective or current client, I always find one--even if it doesn't always teem with eye-popping page 1 potential.
For the latest evidence of newspapers' overworked/understaffed plight, check out this piece: Editor & Publisher's Top 10 Newspaper Industry Stories of 2008.
The #1 story: record newsroom cuts.
Those cuts represent a significant opportunity for individuals and organizations that can provide timely, relevant material that bring mutual benefit.
The newspaper fills its paper with legitimate news, and those individuals and organizations in the news receive strategic editorial placement. And those placements carry many times the credibility and marketing potential than buying an advertisement--and often at a fraction of the would-be ad's cost.