Internet marketing can include all kinds of online approaches. It can be email, social media outreach, blogs, newsletters your customers subscribe to, display advertising, mobile advertising or the perfect blended cocktail of all these vehicles. Perhaps you’ve dabbled in all of them—but have you given press releases a try? Unlike other forms of content, press releases have just one goal: To provide succinct, newsworthy information to your audience.
Generally, all press releases follow a similar template. They’re no longer than one page, have an urgent feel to them and often announce something exciting happening, whether it’s an upcoming production featuring your business on the Discovery Channel or the grand opening of a new location. Whether you operate an eCommerce site, a monetized blog or any other site that could use some higher traffic, injecting press releases into your internet marketing scheme can kick things into high gear.
Something Old, Something New
A highly appealing side to press releases is that they’re traditional and instantly recognizable. There’s something official about a press release. They’re urgent, they’re chock full of useful information and they’re easily digestible because they’re short and succinct. There’s also an art to writing the perfect press release, because they’re unlike any other type of online content.
For example, blogs are often low key, conversational and a little intimate. Newsletters have a folksy appeal but no urgency. Content on your website is probably professional but meant to last (ahem, you don’t want to put content with a short shelf life on your homepage as the permanent content). Press releases are what people expect to see as hot off the press news. That classic image of a boy shouting, “Extra! Extra!”? Well, he was probably selling the equivalent of press releases—not just a newspaper.
Press Releases in the Digital Age
Press releases are still used outside of internet marketing quite a bit. Publishers send them to review journals announcing a new book, non-profits send them to radios to announce upcoming fundraisers and PR reps for celebrities send them around Hollywood to drum up publicity. But when using press releases for internet marketing, it’s important to properly format them and this takes some know-how.
Defined as a “pseudo-news story,” press releases are always written in the third person and are geared towards a specific target audience Maybe you’re sending a press release to the “editor” (or manager, site owner, etc.) of a popular blog because you want your press release featured there—perhaps they have the ideal audience you want to reach. The goal? To prove the newsworthiness of a person, product, event or service.
The Perfect Pitch
A press release needs to perfectly capture the newsworthiness of the content. If that’s not in place, it’s not a press release. However, it can’t read as sales copy; it’s a cake made of newsworthiness with some sales smeared on top. Your headline needs to snare and engage. The person you’re sending the press release to doesn’t care about getting more people to your fundraiser or helping you sell custom ornaments; they care about spreading hot news to their audience and boosting their own readership—think from their perspective.
Short and sweet, tap into journalistic language and remember the header, sub-header and lead are of utmost importance (and in that order). Sound like a lot of work? It is, and it’s a very specialized kind of writing. However, it can vastly expand your readership and customers. A professional SEO company has press release writers on hand who not only capture your news and write it, but also target the best people to send it to and then complete all the outreach. Their goal is to get your release picked up by both traditional and online news outlets and blogs. And since your website will be included, that means press releases have the ability to spread link juice far and wide.
You’ll pay a little extra for a gold standard distribution service that includes the Associated Press, but it’s pretty inexpensive marketing when you consider the explosion in recognition your business might gain.