How to Reach Hispanics:

PR Feature Articles in the Social Media Age


As social media became great platforms to reach large audiences, the idea of using press releases to directly keep in touch with consumers became very popular. Social media and SEO experts recommend to publish press releases on companies' online press rooms, Facebook and other social media, to post video releases on YouTube, and headlines on Twitter along with active links pointing to your company's website where the full text of the press release is hosted. Consumers would engage in discussions with other Internet users about the key focus of the release, let's say, a new product or an important announcement, in a very effective viral marketing. Then you will manage your company over your smart phone from a Hawaii's beach. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

The naked truth is that unless you are Steve Jobs announcing the new iPad, Bill Gates talking about the next Windows operating system or Lady Gaga on her new album, you'll need to publish a very newsworthy press release or even better, a very carefully written feature article where you tell your product's story the way J. K. Rowling told us the Harry Potter adventure, to grab your consumer's attention. This is not different when you try to reach Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, Latin America or Spain.

Originally, press releases were designed to attract news media coverage, not to directly communicate with consumers. They are usually written to give news media professionals a quick idea of what's all about. It's a great marketing tool. Make a note of the fact that only CNN en Español has about 25 million Spanish-speaking subscribers in Latin America and 5 million in the United States. If after you pitch a release to CNN en Español they decide to cover your story, your PR campaign might result in a resounding success.

The first press release was written by the founder of modern public relations Ivy Ledbetter Lee. It was about the Pennsylvania Railroad after the Atlantic City train wreck on October 28, 1906. A West Jersey and Seashore Railroad electric train fell off a draw (swing) bridge, drowning 53 people. It was so important for the community that The New York Times published the full text of the release. It didn't print the Lee byline. Just this phrase, Special to the Times.

PR feature articles are different from press releases, and they make the task of directly communicating with the public easier. People love stories, not cold reports. Why do you think soap operas, Hollywood movies, and Latin "telenovelas" (Spanish-language soap operas) have been so successful? Again, they tell stories.

According to the Business Dictionary a feature story is a "non-time bound publicity material that can be used by the media at their convenience. It is presented usually as a human interest story and has more background information than a news release. Also called evergreen story due to its relatively long life span or 'shelf-life'."

Today, it can be used by the public too. And its relatively long life is very important. Consumers will be reading the feature story for years on your company's site, Facebook, MySpace and Linkedin. And they can be redirected from a headline you posted on Twitter hyperlinked to your site.

Public relations feature articles can be the solution to bypass the news media's lack of willingness to cover your story or the consumer's lack of willingness to read your press release. It can help you enter into the social media age, directly in touch with large audiences. Obviously, a professional writer is needed. Talking about the importance of the first impression as trying to be published, writer Nicholas Sparks once said:

"Above all, a query letter is a sales pitch and it is the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write. It's the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It's that important, so don't mess it up. Mine took 17 drafts and two weeks to write."

A feature article also needs a good first impression. Sparks' all novels were domestic and international best sellers, with over $77 million in worldwide sales, and were translated into more than 35 languages. But curve your enthusiasm. He is so busy right now that I don't think he'll have time to write your feature article. His next book, The Best of Me, will be released in October 2011.

(Hernandez Cuellar is Founder and Editor in Chief of Contacto News Service, mother company of Contacto PR News and Contacto News Service established in Los Angeles, California, in 1994. Hernandez Cuellar also worked as a news writer with the Spain's international news agency EFE in Cuba, Costa Rica and the United States, as Metro Editor of La Opinion of Los Angeles, and as an instructor at the UCLA's Department of Journalism and Public Relations)

AD/PR Services -- Contacto PR News is a Hispanic news release (press release) distribution service. We are able to write, translate to Spanish, copyediting and send out your news release to the Hispanic news media in the United States, Latin America and Spain. (Read more).

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