Traditionally, the point of a press release was to inform the media about something, get their attention and hopefully provide a basis for journalists to write an article. While they still serve that purpose in a limited way, press releases now do much more than that. Harnessing the mighty power of the Web, the humble press release can now not only announce and inform--it can expand one's marketing reach exponentially.
To get the most out of a press release, your clients should be prepared to spend a bit of money on distributing it through sites such as MarketWatch or PRWeb. It’s some of the best exposure they’ll ever get for a couple of hundred dollars.
Here’s what it can do for your client's content marketing campaign:
Boost Your SEO
Because press releases are now published online far more than in print, this offers you the ideal chance to increase your search engine optimization by publishing it on your own site and including your primary keywords in the text. By publishing your press release through a PR service, it fulfills an off-site SEO function by adding your keywords on a highly reputable news site. If the copy contains links back to your site, you’re effectively building quality backlinks.
Provide Content Variety
We keep hearing about how having a wider range of content types raises your site’s credibility in search and generates an improved user experiences. Well, press releases are yet another format to beef up your content arsenal alongside videos, podcasts, white papers, blogs, infographics and social media. Create a section on your site for “News” or “Press Releases” so users can find them easily and they don’t get lost among the other types of content.
Educate Your Readers
Statistics show that readers trust news more than advertising, and as much as you may try to make your content authoritative, the perception is that it’s part of marketing. A press release, however, is considered to be reliable simply because making claims that aren’t true in such a public format is a recipe for business disaster. So when you want to educate your readers using a medium they are likely to believe, a press release is a great way to do it.
Drive Website Traffic
Wherever your press release appears – and it will certainly appear in more places than any of your other types of content – if it carries links to your website it’s going to drive traffic. By using links that lead to the option to download additional content, you encourage visitors to sign up for your offering and gain access to their contact information. A PR Newswire study showed website views increased by up to 77% when supplemental materials were added to press releases.
Create a Public Record
If you use a news service to distribute your press release, you’re creating a public record of the information contained in it. For one thing, it remains published on the news service’s site for a few years, and these sites get high SEO rankings. So, long after it’s buried under newer content on your own site it could still generate page views on the news service site. Whenever anyone searches on your primary keywords, chances are very good that the version posted on the news site will be on the first page of results.
The press releases original purpose of generating interest among news reporters still works. It’s one tried and tested method of telling them about your company, product or service. There’s no guarantee that they will take it up, but it’s usually the only way to bring your business to their attention. If a reporter likes the sound of your release, he or she may well contact you to do an article about the topic. In addition, a well-written press release is often picked up by media outlets and published in its original form as an article for the public to read, especially on a slow news day. This gives you great publicity which is completely free of charge – except, of course, for the cost of the news service’s distribution.
Build Thought Leadership
By sending out press releases in which you’re quoted (and every press release should contain a comment) you build up your reputation as an expert in your field. This helps you to develop your thought leadership potential, to the point that prospective customers will seek you out to purchase your products or services. Once you share it on your social media profiles, you’re increasing brand awareness at the same time.
Overall, the press release has clearly not yet reached the end of its usefulness. It just depends on how you use it.