New hire press releases: Is anyone listening?

New hire press releases: Is anyone listening?

Anyone who’s been in the media, marketing or communications industries has likely seen hundreds. If you’re an ex-reporter-turned-PR-guy like me, then you’ve no doubt seen thousands.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about performance bonuses or letters of adoration from admirers. I’m talking about new-hire press releases.

Just about everybody issues them, but not exactly every media outlet covers them. In fact, quite a few health IT publications don’t regularly cover new hire announcements that aren’t of the big-name, big-company, big-title variety. (In other words, if your release is about the new CEO at Cleveland Clinic or chief technology officer at Haven, the new Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan healthcare company, you don’t have to worry about much of this.)

For large companies and for CEO hires, it’s standard practice to issue a press release. For everyone else, the situation gets a little murkier. So, in those cases, are new hire releases worth the investment of time, effort and resources? Often, yes, though certainly not always.

For anyone on the fence about issuing a new-hire press release, here are three questions that may provide clarity on which way to go:

Can you benefit from local media coverage? Some companies are interested only in national and trade coverage, electing to eschew local coverage, and that’s fine. For example, it might make little sense for a company interested in reaching decision-makers at electronic health records (EHR) companies to obtain media coverage in its local market, because there may be few, if any, EHR vendors headquartered there. In other cases, it could be advantageous, such as when a young company has received a venture capital investment and wants to go on a hiring spree and could benefit from some local publicity. New-hire announcements are much more likely to generate local coverage than national or trade coverage, so companies seeking local coverage may benefit from a release.

Are you looking to generate market awareness? Just because national and trade journalists elect not to write about a new hire, it doesn’t mean that no one is paying attention. Analysts, investors, reporters and close other-industry observers – in those words, people whose job description includes following the latest development health IT – may very well notice. Press releases, in general, and new-hire releases, in particular, are an excellent way to introduce your company’s name to people who may later become valuable contacts.

Did you recently launch a new initiative? Maybe you’ve recently launched a new product, entered a new market or shifted your company’s strategy. A new hire release is another means of spreading the word, even if you’ve mentioned it earlier in a prior release — assuming this initiative is any way connected to the hire. When I was researching a new company in my reporter days, one of the first steps I’d take was to scan the company’s press releases page on its site because it gave me a strong idea of what the company considered its major to-date accomplishments. In that respect, think of a company’s press releases – new hires, included – as a track record of the noteworthy achievements it wants to share with the world.

Though sometimes regarded as the red-headed stepchild of press releases, new-hire press releases can be worthwhile and valuable; just make sure you ask yourself the above questions before publishing one.

5 Confessions of a Former Healthcare Trade Publication Editor

Prior to joining Amendola Communications, I was a senior editor at Medical Economics, the largest monthly business management journal for primary care practices. Before that, I was a senior editor at a couple monthly city business publications as well as a daily newspaper reporter.

The journalistic experience has proven invaluable as a public relations writer because it gives me a deeper understanding of how to create the articles that editors want in their publications. As an editor, I would receive pitches daily from PR professionals. I admit that not every pitch received the time and attention that were clearly put into them, for various reasons which I will describe later.

My last day as a publication editor was in May 2011. Judging from my experience since then as an independent and agency PR writer, however, not much has changed, other than the growing importance of social media, which you can read more about from one of our experts here. In that light, here are five confessions from my time as an editor reviewing countless pitches from PR and marketing professionals that might help your company score an interview or article placement.

  1. If it wasn’t relevant to us, it was deleted. Explain clearly in the pitch how the potential article’s information would be relevant to readers. The editor may not agree, but at least it demonstrates that you took the time to learn about the publication instead of just sending out a mass email with the editor’s name at the top.
  2. Data/outcomes were always interesting. Quantifiable results jumped out in a pitch, especially when there was a “$” before those numbers. Business management publications, even in healthcare, love to publish articles about dollars earned or saved. Numbers were even more powerful if my publication was offered the first chance to share them with readers, which brings us to another attention grabber.
  3. Exclusivity was exciting and appreciated. Offering just one publication the first opportunity on a story can be difficult for a company because it limits or delays spreading the story to a wider audience. Exclusivity, however, is alluring to many publication editors, especially web or breaking news publications where being first is mission critical.
  4. Sharing research builds trust. This tip is somewhat unique to healthcare, but as a trade editor, I always appreciated when a company representative presented medical journal literature that supported the claims in the pitch. Medical journals, unlike marketing content, are objective and critical, which are two qualities journalists prize. Presenting literature in the pitch showed me that the company was trying to be as transparent as possible, which built trust and fostered a stronger relationship with the company representative.
  5. Offering a real customer was almost a sure thing. Interviewing or publishing an article by a senior executive didn’t intrigue me as an editor as much as speaking with a physician or other customer of the company’s solution. This rule especially held fast if the company was relatively new. Readers want to learn from other readers like them, which is part of the reason today why blogs and YouTube channels from ordinary people are so popular. Sharing the perspective of an actual customer also builds credibility, and again, earns trust with the editor and readers.

There are plenty more tips I could share to grab an editor’s attention, but another quality I appreciated in pitches was conciseness, so I’ll stop there. Fortunately for Amendola Communications, we have lots of former print and web journalists working here, and many others with extensive media-relations expertise. Give us a call—or email—and we can discuss how we can help spread the word about your company across all types of business and consumer print and digital media.

I promise that we will respond.