With the explosive growth of new online marketing channels, the idea that press releases may be important to your integrated marketing plan seems preposterous at first glance.. After all, press releases conjure up outdated images of newspaper reporters and public relations spin doctors hammering at their typewriters in smoke-filled rooms. In a world of Twitter, Facebook, and instant access to online information from nearly a billion websites, the reliable, old press release seems like a marketing fossil from a bygone age.
However, it is precisely the sheer number of businesses vying for online traffic, and the array of media outlets looking for information to publish, that combine to make the press release so important in today’s online marketing world. The modern press release has evolved from its Smith Corona typewriter origins to become a powerful, multipurpose online marketing tool that will give you exposure and credibility.
Four Benefits of Press Releases to an Online Marketing Campaign
They Provide Instant, Global Exposure: Thousands of publications look for information to publish every day, including popular niche sites that cater to readers interested in specific industries. Distributing your press release online provides immediate worldwide exposure and the opportunity to be featured in publications of interest to your target audience.
They Are Integral to SEO Success: Well-written, optimized press releases that are picked up by online publications will provide the high-quality links that are important to search engine algorithms. These links ultimately improve your search engine rankings.
They Offer Strong Multimedia Options: Digital press releases can incorporate videos, images, and links, which significantly increase reader engagement. In fact, a study by social media researcher Dan Zarella shows that press releases with images increase reader engagement by 18 percent, while press releases featuring embedded videos increase reader engagement by up to 55 percent.
They Bolster Your Brand: Press releases that are used by well-known online publications not only increase your exposure, they brand you as a thought leader within your industry and help bolster your credibility.
Building the Better Press Release
However, reaping these benefits requires you to build a strong, engaging press release while taking into account the release’s inherent limitations.
Follow the Formula, But Make it Engaging: Much like a news article, press releases are written in an accepted formula: use the opening to detail the event that serves as the subject of your press release, follow it up with a paragraph or two about the history of the company, include quotes from employees or others about the event, then wrap the release up with a bit a of marketing boilerplate about your business. The power of the content lies not in the formula, but the execution. Use strong writing and multimedia, including images and videos whenever possible, to engage readers and grab potential publishers’ attention.
Develop a Distribution Strategy: As well-written as they may be, press releases that aren’t published and linked aren’t worth much to your business. It’s important to have a distribution strategy in place, whether you’re using professional, third-party distribution services such as PR Newswire and MarketWire, or distributing the release on your own through relationships with journalists and publications. You must funnel your press release to the appropriate sources for it to succeed.
Use the Press Release as One Tactic in an Integrated Marketing Campaign: Press releases are important to deliver your message, strengthen your brand and credibility, and ultimately improve your search rankings. But they shouldn’t be the only marketing channel you use. Instead, they work best as part of an integrated strategy designed to generate leads through a variety of channels.
Press releases have evolved to become just as effective in online marketing as they were in traditional media decades ago. Well-written, properly distributed press releases that use an effective distribution strategy can be the extra channel your business needs to take control of your online space.