March Marketing Madness Featuring Amy Howell

by Alicia Arenas on April 3, 2010

Howell_PicWhat a week this has been! We’ve had some fantastic guest posts from marketing experts around the country. We are closing out March Marketing Madness week with a guest post from Amy Howell. Amy is the CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies, a PR and marketing firm that combines traditional and social media marketing. Amy has over 25 years of PR and marketing experience, has been featured in national publications and is a keynote speaker. She was recently recognized by Memphis Woman Magazine as one of  “50 Women Who Make a Difference.”

Are Press Releases Still Helpful?

I have been reading much about the debate over whether or not press releases are still viable as a way for companies to get the word out about news, events, product improvements, etc. Recently I’ve even had some of my clients say things like, “We don’t need to do a press release, I mean, let’s just post this on our Facebook page.” Well, yes, we can do that too but the truth is that there is VALUE in writing a good old-fashioned press release. In the day of “quick–hammer out a 140 character title” (and make it real time please) often times what is lost are the facts. So I value the process of putting together important information for clients as much as I value the information itself.

Doing a press release helps you verify, research and dig deeper into what’s newsworthy. Additionally, it serves as a reference point for others within an organization who may need this information for internal uses. Often times we post our own press releases (whether the media uses them or not) on our client’s website as the media is just one audience.

Another point to consider is that we have seen, first hand, changes in the media players at the local, regional and even national level. As more channels of communication become available to more readers at the global level, the media who think outside the box and can find that entrepreneurial spirit will likely be the ones who find and tell the good stories. PR 101 is about story-telling. The stories and the characters are still the same. The channels we have available now to hear them are dynamic, vast and evolving as we speak! So in summary, write and use those press releases if nothing else to verify information, collect good talking points and archive data for other uses. Then leverage that release in multiple ways for the maximum benefit for your clients.

Thank you Amy!

Amy brings up an important point about storytelling. Storytelling is not just important for PR; it’s important for every aspect of your business.When you talk to people about your business, what story are you telling them? You have a story. There is a reason why you started your business. There are reasons why you are proud of what you provide. Your customers have stories about doing business with you. Capture these. Stories are what connects the rest of the world to you.

For those of you who are blogging, storytelling is a hugely important piece of your content marketing, but you don’t have to be a Pulitzer prize winning write to create great stories. Two of my favorite resources for advice in this area are Chris Brogan (here is one of his posts on storytelling) and CopyBlogger (this is a particularly good piece on developing magnetic content).

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