If you’re reading this, we suspect you’re either debating the use of press releases in your digital marketing, or you have experience with them and you’re not sure how well they’re actually performing. Are press releases worth it? We think so, although there are a few caveats. Let’s cover their benefits first, then circle back to a few factors that are worth keeping in mind.
They Can Be Highly Targeted
Think of press releases like email marketing. Both involve sending content to a list of subscribers who will ideally find your subject lines eye-catching and want to read more. Also like email marketing, you can choose which segmented lists will receive your content.
They Have the Potential for Wide Visibility
Even if the market you target with your release is initially small — and by small, we mean in terms of a metro area or a state versus a country, continent, or global release — there’s still the potential for other outlets to pick up and distribute your content, allowing it to grow organically without breaking the bank.
They Add to Your SEO
You’re probably already aware how important the use of keywords are (both regular and long-tail) for improving your search engine optimization — in other words, how likely you are to rank in the top results for a Google or Bing search. While keywords are often discussed in the context of blog posts and social media, the same applies to press releases.
Your releases may be hosted on the websites of public relations companies like PR Newsire or PRWeb, but you can include industry keywords that will help your releases rank high, as well as backlinks to your website that will funnel readers to you. Backlinking can also establish a trustworthy reputation for your website as search engines crawl specific landing pages.
They Can Be Timely
Are there recent industry changes or pain points that are affecting your leads? Talk about them through your press releases. This makes your releases timely, and increases the chances that leads will not only find them during a search, but also view their subject matter as immediately relevant and worth reading.
You’ve got a new medical product on the market? Distribute a press release.
Industry regulations are changing for data management? Press release.
You developed a training program to address a gap in education? Press release.
They Help You Build Trust as a Market Leader
PR firms would argue that when you issue a statement or push for media coverage, you have the competitive edge and control the narrative. Press releases are a way to get your story out there and educate your target audience just as you would through email marketing.
You can tie in industry references, share the latest trends, and highlight an important product or service that addresses them.
As others learn more about who you are and what you offer, they’ll come to see you as a trustworthy source of information — that is, if you aren’t too salesy or biased in your reporting, which takes us to our next section…
Factors To Keep in Mind
We mentioned there are a few caveats when it comes to using press releases.
1. Be mindful of your sales language.
People already know that what you’re sharing in a press release is likely self-promotion. But they’re more prone to continue reading if you’re telling them a story. Even if the focus of your press release is an event that you’re holding, write about it like an outside observer and be as impartial as possible.
Also know that some press release companies will initially deny publishing your submissions if they’re too salesy, and will only do so once you’ve edited them for that content.
2. Watch your word count.
Depending on who you ask, press releases don’t have to be long. Think of them more like short columns in a newspaper — just-the-facts, focus-on-the-main-story kind of writing. That’s why some PR companies advise you to keep your releases to around 400 words. Others will actually charge you more if you exceed that amount.
Considering how long you may be writing your blogs and other website content, 400 words may sound like a walk in the park by comparison. But that may also mean cutting out the fluff to stay within that word count.
3. Some press releases can get expensive.
The cost for press releases can vary based on the PR service that you use, and whether you’re buying a single release versus a customized package of multiple. For reference, that could mean spending as little as $100 for a basic release with a decent amount of visibility, or $400 and above per submission for a wider geographic reach and more segmented lists.
4. Know what’s included in your prepaid packages.
Some PR services offer reduced pricing per release if you prepay for a package deal. But it’s important that everyone on your team involved with managing those releases is aware of what is and isn’t included. We say this because some companies will still allow you to select options outside of what you’ve prepaid when you’re filling out their press release submission form — and they may not notify you about that until after you’ve submitted your release.
5. If money’s tight, focus on other areas of your digital marketing first.
Even though we’ve compared press releases to email marketing more than once in this article, we’re not implying that one is worth having at the expense of the other. Email marketing is still arguably the best way to find and develop new leads, which is why you want to make sure that aspect of your digital marketing isn’t negatively affected if your budget’s tight before adding press releases into the mix.
In an ideal setup, your press releases would be amplified even more by sharing them through email and social media, not replacing these channels. In turn, those releases would also grow your contact database by funneling leads to your website and encouraging them to sign up for your email distribution. If the end is nigh for third-party cookies, marketers will turn to other means of obtaining email addresses and eyeballs from potential leads — and press releases are a great way to spark that engagement.
Just make sure you also allot the time and funding to develop your email marketing database, keep your website up to date, and share relevant content through your social channels and website (photos, videos, blog posts, lead magnets, syndicated articles, etc.).
Let Us Develop Your Next Press Release
Would you like help writing a press release to promote your business and gain more brand awareness? Or would you like someone to oversee how you distribute one?
Either way, we’d be happy to assist. We can share which services have worked well with other clients in your industry, discuss a price point that makes the most sense with your budget, draft releases on your behalf, and review the visibility and engagement reports following their submissions.
When you’re ready to talk more about this service, or other aspects of your digital marketing, click the link below to schedule time with one of our Fractional CMOs.