We hear questions from our clients all the time about when, where and how to use press releases in today’s landscape and wanted to break down how to think about them today. With the rise of digital media, social media and interactive content, the role of press releases has shifted, but their intrinsic benefits are still intact.
The role of the press release:
- Direct communications: Releases deliver unfiltered messages to the masses, supporting lead-generation, sales conversions and public visibility.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Investors, customers, potential employees and other target groups can learn about and discover your company through keyword searches.
- Long-term content: Releases become permanent parts of a company’s public record, findable and downloadable for the foreseeable future.
Reaching those who matter, directly and on message
Press releases provide factual, direct information to a maximum number of media covering your company, customers and market. Press release distribution, whether over the wire or to a select list of relevant media, gives your company a formal touchpoint with media who are consistently challenged to keep your company top of mind. Press releases themselves won’t cut through the noise of the market, but they provide PR pros with the ammunition to leverage their relationships with reporters to deliver the visibility your brand needs to grow.
Additionally, each news outlet that picks up your press release is going to have its own dedicated readership—which means that you’ll have a new set of eyes seeing your brand for the first time every instance a press release is published. These users will be reading your press release, getting an idea of your business and, if they’re interested, visiting your site—that’s extra referral traffic that serves as icing on the cake.
Press releases have natural SEO benefits, including:
- Natural links from multiple, and high quality, outside sources: It’s hard to get quality inbound links. Whatever your content creation strategy (blogs, video content, social media), it’s a challenge to get your content syndicated through third parties. Alternatively, news sources constantly need new material to publish and each one that picks up your release gives you much needed link source diversity. It’s also much easier and far more likely that a high quality website will post a drafted release than write an original story – on your customer win, product news, event attendance, etc. When Google sees this, you get preferential treatment by association.
- Opportunities for keyword linking and name recognition: Press releases also give you the key opportunity to associate your company name with relevant keywords and subjects. Releases can include the company name and market keywords to increase the likelihood that searches will result in the company page showing up due to co-occurrence and co-citation, as well as the recent semantic search updates to Google’s algorithms.
- Online reputation management: Press releases that include your brand name in the title tend to rank well in search engines for searches of your brand name. Since you can control the content of a press release, this gives you some degree of control over your online reputation (at least as far as what users see when they Google your brand name).
Formal reference points – beyond the data sheet
Press releases act as a form of online brand management and marketing. Storing copies of your press releases on your website provides potential customers with all the necessary information about your company. Customers that need product information or client references can easily find them in the press release without spending their time poring over technical specifications or looking for customer reviews you can’t control. Simple media alerts don’t have this sort of long-term brand management potential.
Expectations for press releases
The primary question to ask when asking a PR agency to draft a press release is: “Is a press release the most effective way to get my point across?” While it may be slightly more expensive, is it important to control my message, have instant and worldwide syndication, boost search results and provide a library of news for potential clients visiting your website? If so, then a press release will usually deliver maximum value, even if a barrage of media briefing requests do not come your way.
- DeMers, Jayson. “Where Press Releases Fit In Your 2015 SEO Strategy.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 29 Dec. 2014. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.
- Tan, Miranda. “Why Press Releases Are More Important than Ever.”LegalZoom. N.p., 24 Nov. 2015. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.