New Hires, New Customers, New Products

Next week is Syndicate.  As a result, you are going to see a bunch of bullshit press releases for a wide variety of companies announcing nothing (I’ve already seen a few – how’s that for “embargoed press releases”.)  Anyone that knows me knows that I general dislike the “broadly defined” discipline of marketing (I much prefer its skinny and much more powerful sibling “demand generation.”)  However – I’m not from the school of “press releases are useless – just blog about it” as I think press releases can serve a purpose especially in conjunction with additional active outreach (e.g. blogs).

As I was driving back from a meeting this morning I was pondering what things were useful to put in a press release.  When I got back to my office, I bumped into Matt Blumberg in the hall and asked him what he thought were useful topics for a press release.  He answered immediately “new hires, new customers, new products.”

Those were exactly the same three topics that I had thought of in the car.  Lots of companies – including ones that I’m an investor in – are guilty of the “barney press release” (two companies announcing a partnership that is akin to nothing more than saying “I love you, you love me”) – this was particularly pernicious during the Internet bubble. In addition, there are endless content free releases that don’t actually address anything specific.  As I scan my RSS headlines, I’m seeing more and more of this – specifically a partnership between two young private companies that doesn’t specify what they are actually doing and why anyone should care or a headline describing something that seems like it might be interesting but – when I dig in – there’s no there there.

Beware the press release that says nothing.

  • Eric Darst

    I’ve always adhered to the “So what test”. If, after someone reads something of mine, they can honestly say “So what.”, then I’ve failed. The trick is to use the test before you publish. (This comment may not even pass).

    Kinda reminds me of Seth’s incessant barking blog… I had my own blog for awhile, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking

  • Absolutely. The same has been true in sectors other than the Internet too. For example Biotech. At a previous company a few years ago, we put together a research collaboration with another company. Analysts had been telling me the markets would like to see us doing something with that company, but I didn’t know how much. We made the announcement – something along the lines of “We might like them; they might like us” – and it put over $200M on the value of the company in one day.

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