According to the major wire services, thousands of press releases are sent out every day. As a result, it’s easy to wonder if this old promotional staple still has legs today in 2015. Even though a wide variety of other promotional tactics exist, many marketers have continued to use press releases for their cache. It has been viewed as a means to establish a company as legitimate in the face of content updates like Panda and Penguin, and provides another way to distribute off-site content and build links. Here’s a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of press releases, and how to make the most of them in 2015.
The changing nature of press releases
At one time, press releases dominated offsite content creation. There were numerous reasons for this. Primarily, a press release is a document that’s written by a company to announce something that’s exciting to the market. While it’s important that the content be considered newsworthy, examples might include a company event, a new product or service, or even the release of original research. If the release was well-written and truly newsworthy, it would often get picked up by branded websites that in turn link back to your company’s website.
A natural backlink from a high quality site like the Huffington Post, Yahoo Business, or CNN Money can be challenging to achieve and press releases allow marketers to associate with some of media’s biggest brands in a legitimate, relatively low effort way.
How to put press releases to work for you in 2015
Press releases have remained a helpful approach for marketers in the face of Google’s content-focused updates, including Panda and Penguin. As with all things, there’s an increasing push for quality and strategic focus in order to get the most from this today. Here is a closer look at how to make press releases work for you in 2015:
Focus on quality:
The topic of a press release should be truly newsworthy. What is the event you’re communicating about? Why does the broader market really care? Be clear about the nature of the event and why it matters. If possible, tie it to a larger current event or news trend that’s more likely to make it stand out. If press releases aren’t what writers and sites consider newsworthy, these issues can actually work against you.
Optimize for keywords and name recognition:
When you’re writing your press release, spend the time to optimize for both keywords and name recognition. One of the benefits of a press release is that it helps build your brand’s recognition in the market. Think about both of these factors when developing your press release text.
Consider it a tactic for both reputation management and visibility:
Press releases tend to offer a high degree of immediate visibility. As a result, they’re effective for sending traffic your way and also as a means for reputation management. If your press release gets picked up by major news sites, it’s likely to rank high quickly for your brand name and can help shift the balance of search results to topics you craft.
Plan your budget:
One of the downsides of press releases is that they can be quite expensive. Distribution of a press release through a newswire can cost several hundred dollars, depending upon what options you select in terms of social media optimization, channels receiving the release, and so forth. It’s important to be practical about how much press releases cost to be distributed, and whether they’re your best investment if you’re on a limited budget. In many cases, it’s possible to get a significant return provided you’re investing appropriately in other aspects of your optimization strategy.
Follow up to selected media:
If your goal with a news release is to get expanded media coverage, one of the best tactics that you can use is to follow up with reporters, newspapers and media outlets in your area. Personally email a copy of the press release, along with an offer for an exclusive interview, event media access, or other incentives to make them more likely to take an interest in your story.
In 2015, brands are competing against more noise than ever before. As a result, it’s important to strategically invest in the activities that help you stand out from the crowd. Press releases can be an excellent choice, depending on your goals and the core story you’re trying to tell. Do you need assistance with your digital marketing in the year ahead? Contact us today to discuss how press releases and other strategies can help you reach your business goals.