Blog posts vs press releases. Which one is the big winner?

In the not so distant past, writing and pitching press releases was the de rigueur when food brands wanted to make announcements about themselves. The “gatekeepers” were the reporters and editors of media who were approached and pitched to by PR firms. Social and mobile media have completely changed the landscape and now food brands themselves are the gatekeepers of their own publicity thanks in large part to blogs.

Writing a candid blog post has a much larger impact than a press release and here are some reasons why:

– Relevance and Reach.  For those savvy brands who have been blogging for some time and have built a following of both customers/consumers and peers, their targeted reach for any blog post is more relevant and valuable than a press release. They have the means to talk to the most important audience to them. Press releases get pitched and distributed to many publications which may or may not publish them. In addition, brands can’t be sure which publications their target audience is viewing – it’s a guessing game, albeit an educated guess. Developing a blog that provides meaningful content, relevant to a brand’s audience, posted on a regular basis, and supported by email is far more effective than relying on media contacts to publish submitted press releases. This is particularly important when a brand has a major announcement to make and whose audience is already established and easily reached.

– New vs Old Thinking. New thinking is centered on developing and controlling brand content and it pays off in many ways, but one of the most valuable is search. If a food brand has developed a library of interesting and relevant posts, people are going to find them no matter how big or small a company may be. The key is providing meaningful information and not just self-serving messages. A great blog post starts with first identifying a problem of relevance to the blog audience. Secondly, a creative solution is provided and lastly, a brand pitch can be made. Old thinking is indicative in the structure of a typical press release: all about me, the brand, is first, typically written in dry corporate speak. Blogs are interactive forms of communication, facilitating audience participation and exposure to a brand’s personality.

– The Media is Free. Food brands have options for getting the word out about their products, services, and distribution: pay a PR firm to write and pitch traditional press releases, pay a PR Newswire or other distribution firm for a one-off blast, or create your own content. While it may seem like a daunting task to write blog posts, as a brand stakeholder, you probably have more knowledge and enthusiasm than anyone about your brand, and you are in a better position to identify the issues of importance to your customers/consumers and peers. While the time you spend writing a blog is certainly not “free”, in the long run the results will pay off in building an audience, controlling the messages, and showing your brand’s personality.

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