As part of the ongoing series of PR tools, let´s take a look at matte releases, which are now known more as feature releases. One such company, Bridal News Network, specializes in working with businesses that are targetting the wedding or bridal industries get into the special wedding sections of newspapers and magazines around the country.
This is how a feature release works: a company writes up a feature style article on their product or service, and a company like Bridal News Network distributes the story to varoius editors and outlets to include in the paper.
In a way, Bridal News Network is like a specialized PR firm for the one project, pounding the pavement for a year to get the story into the editors hands, to run in the papers or magazines. And, since features are written in a news style, they can usually be used wholesale with little worry about information being cut out (beyond the need for space). As newspapers have cut staff, they look to services such as Bridal News Network as freelancers to fill the holes in certain sections.Why go to a feature release service? Because, often times, the bridal editors for special sections are not part of the media databases, but Bridal News Network will have them in its database. Bridal News Network helps the company write the story, puts the story on its Website as a download, as a third party endorsement.
Bill Duke, the head of Bridal News Network comes from a journalistic background — previously working with the WSJ in Brazil — and built Bridal News Network to a service that editors could rely on to use because they are experts in the bridal market. Editors can rely on such a service for feature releases for bridal industry for those special wedding sections throughout the year. And, Bridal News Network has an on-staff media relations department that works with editors to edit and customize stories for their clients, to best fit the needs of the magazine or newspaper, as well as keeps in touch with the editors.
Now, as a small business owner, why would you want to use a feature release services as opposed to hiring a PR firm? Well, it´s a one-shot thing. If you have a product that you want to specifically target bridal sections and magazines across the country, it´s a more cost-effective use of resources. You go to Bridal News Network, give them the information and work with them on stories. The articles are labeled as Bridal News Network content, and Bridal News Network tracks and reports on the coverage.
It comes down to this — if you want to get into a bunch of smaller circulation papers, and some larger ones and magazines, feature releases are a good use of resources.
The caveat of course is that with the calls for transparency in public relations, services such as feature releases are suspect, because they are paid for by public relations firms or corporations. The response is that all pieces are labeled as from Bridal News Network, or the other feature release services. But, is that really enough in today’s age of transparency? That is up to each individual company.