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Monday, May 18, 2009

Press Releases, Newsletters and OtterBox

Image courtesy of Elmore Oil.
As you know, I have great respect for the humble news or press release. Imagine, then, my delight when I came across, the very next day, an article describing an organization - OtterBox - that has taken its press releases to a complete new level!

The article describes how OtterBox replaces PR releases with e-mail newsletter - not that the company completely does away with press releases, but rather how it enhances and extends the value of the press release and generates conversation around their products.

OtterBox manufactures laptop, PDA, smartphone and other protective cases. Product reviews matter greatly to them, particularly editorial reviews. As a result, it decided recently [i.e., this past April] to start an e-mail newsletter program "dedicated specifically to its large database of press contacts - mainstream newspapers and magazine editors, bloggers and Web site editors." It's called "The Newsletter, News You Otter Know."

OtterBox issues plenty of press releases. In fact, it puts me to shame! [For a sampling, check out 2007, 2008 and year-to-date 2009 releases...] The challenge, though, with so many newsworthy stories is not overwhelming recipients with too much information. That's where the e-newsletter comes into play.

Per the article, "The newsletters feature links to press releases, product photos and case studies. They also link directly to the OtterBox press room and blog, and allow people to connect with the company via Facebook, RSS feeds or Twitter. A menu across the top has links to five product categories. “We’ve been launching products left and right; and we wanted to come up with a solution so we weren’t overwhelming the press with too many releases each month,” Golliher said. “The newsletter lets us bring all the announcements into one place, a bulleted list, and support them with information, case studies and photos.

I love the idea of including case studies, especially since these products lend themselves to stories. Don't believe me? Check out this new product still in development: the Human Sized OtterBox. Note that the story comes from the enduser focused April newsletter which includes contests, recipes and videos and also highlights an employee. [You can sign up for it, too.]

From the comments to the BtoB article, I can direct you to OtterBox's inaugural media e-Newsletter. Effective, don't you think?

As it announced in Social Butterfly OtterBox brings Interactive Company Culture to Customers, OtterBox is also active on Twitter @OtterBox, Facebook, The Otter Blog and on Planet Otterbox where visitors can upload pictures of adventures with OtterBoxes.

Given OtterBox's commitment to interaction and strong enthusiasm for both products and end users, I'm not surprised that the company came up with such a practical solution for enhancing the value that its press releases offer. I do wonder whether OtterBox plans on linking to the media e-Newsletter from its Press Room at any point... After all, the case studies and links to relevant releases would also appeal to customers.

What are your reactions to this story?

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