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megaphone(Read time = 2-3 minutes) One lesser known (but growing) aspect of a B2B outbound strategy is use of the typical news release more as sales collateral rather for its ability to gain editorial coverage.  PR traditionalists will be aghast, but consider that in today’s world of diminishing media revenues, editorial staff cuts and the increased reliance on automated tools – a client company’s messaging now has a better than ever opportunity to sail thru to publication virtually untouched/un-edited.

The boon causes me to propose a “news as sales collateral” approach, thus adding a perceived high-value asset to the sales tool kit. 

Editorial coverage has always had greater customer credibility than any paid advertising or the usual sales call banter.  Once a news release is “dropped on the wire”, the bots and RSS, Google and the search engine look-alikes all combine to scale the message widely.  As audience communities increasingly rely on automated news feeds, the diminishing human editor touch provides greater opportunity to cloak marketing messages in the perceived legitimacy of “news”.

Certainly, the traditional journalist/analyst briefings remain important.  There’s clearly value in gaining space inside an enterprise story, opinion article and roundups.  But the collateral aspect of a news release adds a valuable tool to sales’ arsenal. 

I’m not advocating deceptive marketing, but pointing to an emerging opportunity for nimble marketers to add a powerful sales tool.   Journalism has always has a “consumer beware” aspect – this more true now regarding news consumption than ever.  Human editors as gateways for validation, fact-checking and source confirmations are a vanishing breed. We can lament the trend but should recognize the opportunity.

Client and Agency strategies need to deploy a refined “news” rating criteria when evaluating stories for consideration.  It’s no longer sufficient to think in terms of major or minor… you must now add the category of “News as Collateral”, where the primary purpose of a drop is not to gain editorial coverage in the traditional sense, but to be “published” in a format/forum perceived by your customers as credible while retaining your market messaging principally untouched.  Then pointing your sales force to the site link and/or providing them with a digital PDF which can be delivered as credible proof to the message at hand.

Add in the additional wrinkle of now being able to tweet, blog and post to the various social network sites, and suddenly a small, minor news release can become a powerful tool in gaining share of voice w/in a target audience community.

Are you/your PR teams and strategies keeping up with this shift away from traditional human editorial touch… perhaps it’s a conversation worth having.

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