New hire press releases: Is anyone listening?

Jul 3, 2019

Anyone who’s been in the media, marketing or communications industries has likely seen hundreds. If you’re an ex-reporter-turned-PR-guy like me, then you’ve no doubt seen thousands.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about performance bonuses or letters of adoration from admirers. I’m talking about new-hire press releases.

Just about everybody issues them, but not exactly every media outlet covers them. In fact, quite a few health IT publications don’t regularly cover new hire announcements that aren’t of the big-name, big-company, big-title variety. (In other words, if your release is about the new CEO at Cleveland Clinic or chief technology officer at Haven, the new Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan healthcare company, you don’t have to worry about much of this.)

For large companies and for CEO hires, it’s standard practice to issue a press release. For everyone else, the situation gets a little murkier. So, in those cases, are new hire releases worth the investment of time, effort and resources? Often, yes, though certainly not always.

For anyone on the fence about issuing a new-hire press release, here are three questions that may provide clarity on which way to go:

Can you benefit from local media coverage? Some companies are interested only in national and trade coverage, electing to eschew local coverage, and that’s fine. For example, it might make little sense for a company interested in reaching decision-makers at electronic health records (EHR) companies to obtain media coverage in its local market, because there may be few, if any, EHR vendors headquartered there. In other cases, it could be advantageous, such as when a young company has received a venture capital investment and wants to go on a hiring spree and could benefit from some local publicity. New-hire announcements are much more likely to generate local coverage than national or trade coverage, so companies seeking local coverage may benefit from a release.

Are you looking to generate market awareness? Just because national and trade journalists elect not to write about a new hire, it doesn’t mean that no one is paying attention. Analysts, investors, reporters and close other-industry observers in those words, people whose job description includes following the latest development health IT may very well notice. Press releases, in general, and new-hire releases, in particular, are an excellent way to introduce your company’s name to people who may later become valuable contacts.

Did you recently launch a new initiative? Maybe you’ve recently launched a new product, entered a new market or shifted your company’s strategy. A new hire release is another means of spreading the word, even if you’ve mentioned it earlier in a prior release — assuming this initiative is any way connected to the hire. When I was researching a new company in my reporter days, one of the first steps I’d take was to scan the company’s press releases page on its site because it gave me a strong idea of what the company considered its major to-date accomplishments. In that respect, think of a company’s press releases new hires, included as a track record of the noteworthy achievements it wants to share with the world.

Though sometimes regarded as the red-headed stepchild of press releases, new-hire press releases can be worthwhile and valuable; just make sure you ask yourself the above questions before publishing one.

Brandon Glenn

Brandon Glenn is a veteran journalist and marketing and communications professional, with experience in content marketing, social media, media relations and news writing. He gained a deep knowledge of the health IT industry while working as a reporter and editor for MedCity News, which covers the business of innovation in healthcare, and as a senior editor with Medical Economics, a publication that focuses on issues of importance to primary care physicians. In these positions, he also wrote extensively about the hospitals, pharmaceuticals and medical devices industries. Brandon began his journalism career as a reporter with Crain's Cleveland Business and, later, Crain's Chicago Business. Earlier, he was an analyst with consulting firm Accenture. Brandon earned a master's in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Purdue University.