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.