There are some books – including e-books – on subjects relating to e-learning and online learning technologies that I would hesitate to mention in this blog, for reasons varying between humility and disinterest.
The recently published e-book on writing e-learning press releases, however, is one which is close both to my heart and to my experience over many years.
It was a long time ago now – in May 1990 – that, with a triumph of optimism over experience (and, at that time, skill), I embarked on a career in business-to-business specialist public relations. Almost immediately, I began working for companies in what was then known as the ‘computer based training’ industry. It became the ‘e-learning’ world in the late 1990s and, subsequently, has adopted the alternative title of ‘online learning technologies’ – and now ‘learntech’ – to take account of the many systems and tools that go to make up this fascinating sector.
More than a quarter of a century later, I now know most of the rules, fashions and fancies that combine to enable would-be publicists to promote their products and services around the world. Of course, not only is there always more to learn (hence this e-book, among others) but there are also changes – in technologies as well as fashion – that enable the publicity and promotions world to progress.
Nonetheless, the key way of gaining publicity for vendors and suppliers to the corporate learning world has always been – and will always be – via a ‘press release’. It’s the bedrock upon which all other PR promotional activity is based.
This is because, as yet, no vendor or supplier in this sector has become – nor, given the standing of ‘HR’ and ‘L&D in society at large, is likely to become – a ‘household name’.
When your organisation is a household name, the media will often come to you to ask for stories. It’s certainly easier for household names to make their products, services, actions and views known via the media. It may also be more difficult to disguise their peccadillos – but that’s another matter.
Once your organisation is a household name, you can afford to be reactive in terms of PR, publicity and promotion.
Until that happens, the only way you can get ‘in the news’ and be ‘noticed’ is to be proactive in generating publicity. That includes – however you produce it and however you distribute it – generating press releases.
In recent years – as ‘hard copy’ trade magazines and newspapers have given way to internet-based news sites and distributors – it has become easier to publish these press releases. These days, it is possible to guarantee publication somewhere of almost any press release.
Nonetheless, it is still important for your press release to be of the highest quality possible – in order for it to provide some value to its readers and, hopefully, get them to think and/or behave positively towards you or your organisation.
This means that, primarily, any press release must be:
• Traceable to its author
All of these issues – and more – are covered in the (downloadable for free) e-book, ‘The Definitive Guide to eLearning Press Releases’ from the eLearning Industry stable.
Moreover, once you have your press release, you need to decide where it can be the most effective that it can be. There are many distribution services that promise to send your press release to hundreds – even thousands – of recipients. Yet these recipients may not find your press release to be relevant to them or to their needs.
If you can’t put your press release in front of the maximum relevant audience, you’re wasting a proportion – maybe even a significant proportion – of the money you’ve spent on generating and then distributing the story.
In deciding to read the eLearning Industry e-book, you will have already made a worthwhile decision because you will have realised that press releases are the foundation for any and every successful marketing and PR initiative. I hope that the e-book’s wisdom encourages and empowers you to become not just a more competent communicator but also a prolific producer of professional press releases.
Bob Little - admittedly greyer but more skilled and experienced than he was in May 1990.