Guess which press release generates more press and business

Andrew Neitlich
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 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 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 ($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 (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.