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July 17, 2019
By definition, an embargo is a stoppage or impediment. In PR we use embargoes to stop or impede journalists from covering certain news before a specified day or time in order to keep the news confidential before it goes live. We require written agreement to the terms of the embargo before we will share a press release and/or other materials for journalists’ review.
what circumstances would you use an embargo?
announcements are likely the most popular type of announcement where an embargo
is used. As you can imagine, fundraising is a big deal for most companies, so,
when it actually happens, they don’t want the news to get leaked before they
are ready to make the announcement themselves.
important to be extremely vague in the initial pitches so that it isn’t easy to
guess which company the announcement is for. This can be tricky, as you have to
also provide enough information to interest a journalist.
An embargo is
often used with product announcements in order to make a big splash on launch
dates. Depending on the product, this can be extremely important, because if
the news of a new product is leaked before the product is finished, it could
lead to bad reviews and negative coverage.
As you know,
mergers and acquisitions are usually kept secret–and for good reason. There
can be serious repercussions if the news gets out early. Companies need time to
prepare statements for both their internal and external audiences; to read
about this news in the press first can often cause panic and frustration.
the terms, an embargo is also a good tactic to use for various partnership
announcements. Similar to mergers and acquisitions, there is a lot of
communication that needs to happen both internally and externally before the
news can go live.
announcements don’t need embargoes?
If the new
hire has been working at the company for some time, has already updated their
LinkedIn profile, and is listed on the website, there is no need for an embargo.
The only situation where we would recommend an embargo for a new hire
announcement is if the employee has not yet started and is still employed by
another company. We typically recommend waiting about three months after the
employee has started to announce the hire.
We often do
not recommend utilizing an embargo for survey or data press releases in order
to maximize the coverage potential. We have seen that pitching the press
release several days before it goes live with no embargo, in addition to
continuing to pitch after the go-live date, results in great coverage.
Journalists often do not appreciate embargoes and sometimes even break them, so
this strategy works well.
Often we are
asked for specific examples of how a company and/or product works, so when we
are able to pitch a case study, we don’t like to let an embargo hold us back;
we prefer to share widely as soon as we receive approval. It can be a very
long, tedious process to get case studies drafted, so we recommend immediately
publishing on the website in order to leverage the content.
if you are putting out a press release with market-moving news or sensitive
information of any kind, you likely want to use an embargo. Just be sure to
align with your client and team on the date/time. The key to a successful
embargoed announcement is to ensure that you have enough time to pitch…and
that journalists respect the embargo, of course!
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