The Power of Press Releases
Press releases offer your company the ability to be the news, without the cost of traditional media. Learn the power behind this cost-effective tool.
The Internet has provided high demand for information and a need for immediate news. Online press releases offer your company the ability to be the news, without the cost of traditional media. Perhaps your company launches a new product and you want to make the public aware of it. Or maybe you’re the new cat in town and you want your presence to be known. If you were to advertise in a newspaper or magazine, you may be paying tens of thousands of dollars. Press releases offer a similar benefit for mere hundreds, if not free. In addition, they don’t come across like traditional advertising, so your audience may take you more seriously.
But beyond exposure, there are many other benefits that press releases can provide. We’ll take a quick dive into those, as well as pitfalls to avoid. Lastly, we’ll give you some recipes for press release success.
The ultimate goal of a press release is to increase awareness about your company or product offering. Press releases offer that through increased online exposure. While some distribution companies simply put your release out on the Web to see if it sticks, others actually have networks of media that they push it out to. These can be anything from local news newspapers to mainstream news sources, including major networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. While the latter are generally harder to reach, your story will ultimately dictate the level of interest. At any medium, reporters are always on the lookout for news so press releases can be a powerful tool in improving your visibility.
Another benefit is that with the information available online, even if the information bypasses the journalists, it can reach the consumer directly.
Search Engine Optimization
While there’s still debate about whether or not press releases improve your search engine optimization (SEO), the fact of the matter is that properly crafted releases can improve your search results. Now let us be clear: the press releases themselves won’t improve your rankings. In fact, Matt Cutts from Google said that he “wouldn’t expect links from press release Websites to benefit your rankings.”
Where the results do come from however, is through the syndication of that material within other mediums. If a journalist picked up your press release and used it for their online newspaper or magazine, the impact on your SEO could be substantial. The key is to, not only embed proper links back to your Website, but also use relevant keywords in the content itself. Of course, this can only occur if your press release is well written and provides value to their audience.
Trust and Branding
While there may not be a direct impact on revenue, press releases can provide indirect value through brand awareness. As with any advertising medium, the goal for branding is keeping your audience aware of your existence and providing value to their agendas. Online press releases have the potential to be seen by millions of people, and the opportunity to be in front of your target audience is substantial. The key here is to know your audience. Many press release sites will allow you to target very specific audiences. Be creative and target multiple audiences with multiple messages. The more tailored your message, the more your audience will resonate.
One of the biggest outlets that press release strategies can see success with is through bloggers. As with journalists, bloggers are always on the lookout for material to add value for their audience and are often a part of online syndication networks to get new material. If your company does tech reviews and you push a well-written press release out with new detailed product comparisons, chances are blogs in a similar market will want to reference your comparison and link back you the original source – your Website.
Establish Domain Expertise
Much like branding, there are benefits outside of direct revenue that can come from press releases. A well-written release can show that you and/or your company are domain experts in your relative field, which can lead to revenue further down the line. In order to achieve this, there needs to be a clear connection between the press release and the Website you link back to, as well as a reason for them to come back a second and third time.
The most obvious benefit of a press release is the increased traffic to your Website. There are two keys to this working in your best interest: 1. Have clear, actionable links back to your Website within the press release itself; and 2. Make sure your Website is well-designed to engage your audience. If your #1 goal is to sell something from your Website, the audience has to believe that your product and/or service is worth purchasing.
Things to Look Out For:
- Press releases are not an end-all marketing solution. Don’t rely on them solely and have clear goals in mind as to what you want to achieve with a press release strategy.
- Press releases don’t directly help to build customer relationships. They open the dialogue and if they are well-written, easy to digest and include helpful tips and/or links, you’ve provided a value that may get them back to your Website. It’s up to you and your Website at that point to keep the relationship-building going.
- Don’t expect a homerun. While press releases can add extreme value to your company, overnight successes are rare.
- For most businesses, press releases will not gain not national media recognition. Whether a company promises you this or not, the chances of a press release being picked up by a large media outlet is slim. There is, however, a lot of potential for local media pickup, which can be a great thing for many businesses.
Quick Tips for Success
- Data in press releases get picked up more. Beef up your press release with charts, graphs and statistics.
- Timing is everything. The middle of the week is the worst time to send a press release with Wednesday being the low-view point. The beginning and end of the week are best, with Sunday and Saturday getting the most views.
- Embed photos and links to videos. According to Dan Zarrella from HubSpot, photos increase engagement in press releases by about 18%, while videos are a whopping 55%.
- Link back to your Website. This is key, and don’t forget to include relevant keywords.
- Measure your success. If set up correctly, Google Analytics provides great ability to track inbound traffic. Many press release companies will provide some level of metrics, but are no replacement for Google Analytics. We’ve found that linking back to a landing page, not only has the best engagement, it also makes tracking easier. LeadPages has an easy tool to create amazing landing pages in minutes and there’s no limit to how many pages you can create. We use them for all of our inbound marketing efforts.
- Know your audience. We find it useful to segment our audiences and then deliver catered messages to each audience. Many press release companies have tools that help you target specific niche audiences; you can make your search as broad or narrow as you wish.
Here are some popular press release platforms for you to check out:
Thank you for taking the time to read our post. Next week, we will cover all the elements of the press release and show you how to draft the perfect one for your business. In the mean time, be sure to sign up for our free newsletter below to receive exclusive offers, online business tips, and more.
Header image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. It is attributed to Pixabay, and the original work can be found here.