Press releases have become affordable for smaller businesses. Social media has changed how people communicate locally and globally. It has led to political revolutions and created a celebrity culture. As businesses try to work out how to harness the power of social media to reach new audiences, a traditional marketing tool—the press release—may have gained a fresh purpose.
Press releases have become more important than ever in promoting your company. In addition to their traditional role, they are also a supply of backlinks from the press outlets that publish your release. Backlinks are important for SEO (search engine optimisation) and PR distribution services have sprung up for that very reason. Backlinks from the press tend to have a high page rank which makes them more valuable for SEO.
Find out how you can leverage press releases and specific content to help customers, prospective customers, potential employees and other target groups learn more about your company.
The New Face of Public Relations
Both large and small companies in every industry are now using social media as an integral part of their marketing needs. As social media continues to replace the traditional channels of brand promotion and communication, public relations has had to adapt.
For larger businesses, public relations and social media marketing provide a solid foundation and baseline for brand awareness and general marketing campaigns. Before the advent of social media, companies had to go through a long and arduous process of contacting journalists who acted as gatekeepers. PR agencies charged high fees and were only affordable for larger companies.
This has changed considerably and with the rise of online press release distribution services, it is now affordable for smaller companies too. That is not to say that a local PR agent that knows your business is not the best option, but it is not an affordable option. Press releases are now:
- Key search engine optimisation (SEO) tools that help prospective customers, potential employees and other target groups learn about and discover companies online;
- Permanent parts of a company's public record, findable and downloadable for the foreseeable future;
- Direct communications tools that can deliver unfiltered messages to the masses;
- A platform – being quoted in the press gives you credibility that you can't get from any other marketing strategy. When prospects compare your company to the competition what do they see? Who has the best press? Having media coverage gives you an advantage.
Why Press Releases Are More Important Than Ever
Press releases have changed a lot over the years, especially since businesses have adopted more online marketing. But to use a press release effectively, there are some strategies that must be followed. Here are some of the main reasons press releases have become so important:
- Announcing a new product or service. If you want to announce a new product or service, you can draft a press release and immediately get your news found on all major search engines and social media networks by using a press release distribution service. This also enables you to target thousands of journalists worldwide.
- Improving brand image. Because it has become so easy to publish and distribute a press release, companies can easily send out as many press releases as they want. Publishing more press releases more often is a good way to get your brand noticed.
- Images help drive interest. Press releases can now include images, videos, maps and other media, which means you can convey your message and news stories in more interesting ways than before.
- Instant worldwide distribution. Before online press releases existed, most press releases were sent only to local journalists. If not deemed worthy of press mention which required some work, they ended in a waste bin. Now a press release can be distributed to millions of people around the world instantly with minimal effort through email and social media.
- Expanding public knowledge. By adding links to other web pages within a press release, companies can direct readers to even more information about what they do.
- Viral possibilities. An online press release can go viral if people start sharing it over social media networks, which was never possible with traditional press releases.
- Portability and convenience. People can read a press release anywhere on the Web via their smartphones, tablets or laptops.
- Search engine optimisation. By using specific keywords relating to your business, you can optimise your press release to help your website to rank higher in search engines.
Press Releases Writing Tactics
Writing a Press Release in a way to maximise its chances of being published is a specialised skill. Most of the PR distribution services have strict guidelines to follow and will reject any copy that does not follow the guidelines. Some offer PR writing services for you and give you the opportunity to approve the copy before publication. The essentials are similar to writing a sales letter (paper-based or email)
- An attention-grabbing headline to create curiosity. Keep the character count under 60 so that the entire headline shows up in search engine results pages. Include at least one keyword in the headline, as close the beginning as possible. Search for your industry in the online news search engines and see which headlines jump out at you.
- An angle to grab interest. Slant your story so that it's easy to grasp what it is about. You can connect with something bigger like an anniversary, special event or you can partner with another business or charity. Restrict yourself to one angle per story.
- A call to action to motivate a response. Include a call to action at the end of the first paragraph. Have a link to a place to learn more, to register, to buy – you get the idea. Make sure you include your company's contact information, including your email address, phone number and URL.
When you distribute your press releases with an online service you don't have to know any reporters at all. Releases generally stay indexed in the search engines for 28 days which is a rich source of backlinks. You will need to plan on sending out at least one press release every month to maintain the benefit of those backlinks. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to only send out one or two press releases a year.
What do Press Releases Cost?
A quick search on the internet will bring up some UK services such as PR Newswire and Businesswire and US services like PR Web, Presscable and Press Advantage. Typical costs are £200 per press release. The US distribution services are likely to have a wider reach and therefore more backlinks which can help with SEO. Some are also more sophisticated with their focus on SEO. We like Press Advantage the most for this reason.
We have a relationship with Press Advantage and have negotiated a deal with them for the benefit of our clients. From a brief provided via us, they will draft each PR for your approval (again via us) before it is released. The price has come down to £100 per press release for a minimum commitment of one press release per month for ten months. If you agree to pay in advance then you will get 12 releases for the price of 10. These offers are subject to terms.
In addition to the press releases, you will also get a Press Release Page which is powerful for SEO. To see what such a page looks like, here is a link to the MyLocal PR page.
Please contact us if you are interested in prices for lower volumes of Press Releases.
We work with your website designer to improve your ability to be found in Google and other search engines. Also, to look good wherever you may appear online. We specialise in local SEO and most of our work is off-site. But there may need to be some on-site work undertaken by your webmaster to complement what we do. If you would be interested in finding out more, please use the Contact Form on our website.
Did you see our article about using Structured Data on your website?