Let’s say that, a few months ago, you’ve launched your "hello world" press release and that, for the sake of the argument, you’ve managed to catch the attention of a few media outlets. You’re now watching your customer base grow. Slowly. Probably, after a while, will come a moment when you feel the need for a little extra nudge from the press. And you’re starting thinking… "what can I talk about?"

PR stories that shape your brand

Here is the useful experience of Venetia Pristavec, former creative director of Airbnb from 2009 to 2014:

"Every time we released a new feature, we used it as an opportunity to define our brand through the stories we tell. For example, « Neighborhoods » was defining us as a local brand: « We're in your neighborhood and we’re helping you to decide which neighborhood to stay in. ». Instead of just releasing our new feature to the world, we used it as an opportunity to build our story as a hyper-local brand, saying : « airbnb is going block by block, we’re here to stay, we’re the neighbor ».

The neighborhood stories of Airbnb

Neighborhoods is a collaborative travel guide that was once on the Airbnb website (it’s still accessible if you know the URL).

An inspiring title

The name of the feature could have been closer to "travel guide", but the name they chose clearly tells the story of a company whose purpose it to make travelers feel at home wherever they are.

Suddenly an American can choose a restaurant in Paris based not on a guide for tourists but on a tip from a local neighbor.

A true adventure

For the media, the appeal (appart from getting instant attention from their readers with a well-known brand) is to be able to share an experience that’s unique. One might say that airbnb is just reinventing the wheel. But it’s actually giving journalists a new perspective on what it means for a tourist to find a local place to eat or have fun.  

, Neighborhoods is "a new way for travelers to uncover rich, unique experiences on a hyper-local level".

So you see, you don’t have to release something extraordinary to get the media’s attention. You have to make it sound unique, give an old topic a new perspective, show that you care about your clients, that you are true to your mission. Then craft every sentence of your press release to show, not just facts and figures, but your human side, like this: 

"We are introducing our community to a neighborhood's personality so they can match it with their own."
"With deeply immersive local guides in over 300 neighborhoods, Airbnb Neighborhoods lets travelers immerse themselves in rich content and make informed decisions about where they want to stay."
"Airbnb Neighborhoods let our community feel what it means to become part of a city."

Start the wave

To sum it up, next time you need to create a PR wave for your company:

  1. create a feature or an event people actually care about
  2. align the name with your vision
  3. write the press release with your heart

In the end, you might end up with a few attractive articles, calling your new feature, not just a travel guide, but a "neighborhood-centric travel guide" . Way more catchy for readers, isn’t it?