By Andrew Neitlich

Guess which press release generates more press and business

By Andrew Neitlich

I’m going on a short vacation and thought it would be interesting to see who can predict future best. This time (unlike the blog about which web designer makes more money) there are no trick questions. The question is: Which of two press releases do you think will do better in terms of getting press and customers?

Some background first — There are basically 3 types of press releases a company can issue:

1. Releases about new products and services. Common wisdom says that these types of releases get picked up by focused publications, but generally don’t get picked up because they are too “sales pitchy.” The exception is truly “Wow!” products that are really new and exciting.


2. Tips and information. These releases educate readers about trends, research, and advice related to their problems. You see these all the time. For instance, Wall Street Journal often publishes hiring studies by recruiting firms. But small firms can do the same, for instance, “New trends in rapid web development…”

3. Piggy back on major news events. For instance, if a major worm/virus hits, you can be the first to notify your local press about it, with advice about how to handle it.

Okay, so with that background, here’s a description of the two releases (Note to the weary: Obviously the point of a press release is to get publicity. So the releases I am about to mention promote my business. Please don’t read further if you don’t want to see promotion in action. But again, I will share data about which release did better, and that is the point here).

The first was a story about an attractnewclients.com customer. He lost just about everything in Hurricane Katrina, including his entire client base (which was in New Orleans). He relocated to Raleigh, NC, and also became a customer of my service. Already he has rebuilt much of his business with new clients, and has good things to say about the program. The release focuses on him, with relatively minor mention of my website. However, the hope is that the media pick up on his inspiring story and maybe mention my service, too. So this is a release in the third category above, piggy backing on major story. (You can read about his story at http://startingover.blogs.com/. I released this to local press in my area, in his new home, in New Orleans, to major publications (NPR, Wall Street Journal, talk radio), and on prweb.com ($80 to also get coverage in Yahoo, MSNBC, etc). For all but prweb, I sent personal emails to reporters and editors, explaining why I thought this would be a good story for them to cover.

The second release fits into the first category above. It’s a short release about the product and company. I released this to my local press (via personal messages) and on prweb.com (same $80). The release goes out Monday, so I don’t have link to share yet.

So which do you think will perform better — the one about a customer who has survived a huge hurricane, or the standard vanilla release?

Full disclosure to be provided when I return Thursday.

  • From the tone of your post, and the amount of space you gave to describing each press release, I think you already know which one is going to do better!

  • TheLunchBox

    I’m going to say that the Press Release that builds a good firm and does the best job marketing itself.

  • aneitlich


    LOL. Touche!


  • Tvienti

    (A) is riskier with higher potential of payoff, as it may get a free ride on post-Katrina sentiment. (B) is safer and you can probably make a reasonably accurate prediction on its performance based on previous, straight-forward PRs through the same channels.

    That said, my hunch is on (A). Good luck.


  • I have to say it’s a hard choice between two and three. I’m going with three though, as it will give a good aura for your business, when you help others and appear to be on top of things.

  • WebDevGuy

    #2 does. Reason: If it’s something like a virus, the knowledge of the company you read mentioned in or near a story is, rightly or wrongly, validated. It must be true because a news story covered it and they never get anything wrong!? Okay, a little sarcasm there but the gist of that is accurate.

    If you read about a major virus, you associate positive feelings about the company quoted in the article and are more likely to think enough of them to call.

    On the other hand if I hear of a major virus and the next day I read about Company XYZ annoucing it has a fix, I tend to think of that company as an opportunist and I won’t call them based on principle.

  • TheLunchBox

    On a serious note, I’d say that #2 would normally work best. I’m currently working at a company where I do a mix of development and marketing. We’ve tried all 3 types of press releases, and #2 is the only type that consistently gets results.

    #1 is usually ignored by everybody except for current clients and #3 usually results in interest about the new event rather than our products.

  • drakke

    Press releases depend on if the editor thinks it is newsworthy enough to put it out. Since the Katrina story is the top news story currently anything even remotely related to it has a good chance to being used by an editor.

    That said I don’t know how PRWeb works and if other publications take press releases from it to print in their own publications. If not they may both get the same amount of exposure.

  • # I’m going with the “Piggy back on major news events”… Not so much because of Hurricane Katrina (this makes it news worthy to reporters), but because readers will connect your company with an emotional story.

    Readers are gonging be more interested in talking to you about how you helped this guy than how you are gonging help their business. People by from people and with a story like this they will trust you already.

  • cianuro

    I am going to say the one with the inspiring story.

  • Thanks for the link to prweb.com, going to be needing this service soon ;)

    Now I Gotta go finish the site …

  • I am going to say that the first press release will work very well for you – however, for a smaller company, tagging onto major national/international events is much less effective than press release #2. There is no way my company has any connections or weight with “NPR, Wall Street Journal, talk radio” – and I don’t think we could get anywhere with that.

    *One day . . . ;)

  • How do you piggy back of something like a natural disaster and pitch the press release in that very area where it hit? Doesn’t it mean by sheer definition that those people dont have any money because they have lost everything and thus cant afford the service? While I can see the benefit to pitching it in New Orleans to those that can one day be in a position with disposable cash, but I wouldn’t think there would be an immediate return on that investment on your part. So while the first gets more press, I would see the second getting more customers in the short term.

    Actually, you never stated how long a term we are supposed to be evaluating these two releases. The problem with piggy backing on a major event, is that when the event is old news, so are you (or at least your release is). The fact you have covered both angles is the better choice. I’m pretty sure they will work in tandem, not seperate to each other.

  • Tvienti


    The disaster was localized, the media coverage is worldwide. Coverage of the story has the potential of making it all the way around the globe. While that’s unlikely, hoping for it to make its way around the country isn’t as hard to imagine. Plus, he mentioned press releases in his own home town, his client’s new hometown (RTP is pretty hot right now), and other major channels. Reaching outside of New Orleans with his article probably won’t be an issue.

  • …one about a customer who has survived a huge hurricane, or the standard vanilla release?

    LOL, I’d have to agree with “philwilks” in that you seem to have your mind made up already which would perform better! After all, what sort of marketer would refer to a winning solution as “standard vanilla”? ;)

    Best of luck, either way. I’ll stay tuned to see what the verdict ends up being.

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