Using Press Releases To Your Advantage
In the world of Internet marketing, most people are well aware of many of the tools available to help them achieve their goals. They know that optimizing for search engines is vital, they know they need a presence in social media, they know they need to have great content and they are aware that there are a huge number of ways they can achieve each of these goals. What’s interesting, though, is that many business owners – particularly those with a smaller business – have yet to harness the power of press releases to their advantage. This is too bad because these are powerful tools to have at your disposal that can produce some pretty amazing results. That’s what we want to talk about today so you can see that press releases have broader application than you might first have realized.
You Don’t Have to Be a Corporation to Use Press Releases
We want to cover this point first because here is where a lot of people get a warped perspective of press releases. The truth is, press releases (when made correctly and for the right reasons) are appropriate for use with any size business. If you have a website where consumers can buy something from you, then a press release can help consumers find you. If you have a brick and mortar store without much of a web presence, that is fine, too, and press releases can be valuable for getting out your location and phone number to potential customers.
When it comes down to it, press releases are another flavor of content marketing and they do a number of things that your average article or blog post can’t do for you. For one thing, a press release does have the potential to be noticed by journalists and editors of publications who are looking for relevant news or items of interest. If your press release catches their eye and they feel it is interesting enough, there is a chance that they may publish it ‘as is’ or they may include information from that press release in an article they create. This is an amazing opportunity to find your business mentioned in print media or digital newspapers, special interest magazines and so forth.
Your business doesn’t have to be doing something amazing to produce a great press release. Perhaps you’ve released a new product or you have a special guest that will be blogging on your site. Maybe you are doing a giveaway or celebrating an anniversary of doing business. Any of the reasons can work well and be turned into a nice press release. If you’re worried that you will look amateur or not important then you need to remember that quality writing can be outsourced and it can lend a professional appearance to your business that you yourself might not have the journalistic flair to achieve. Companies of all sizes do this on a regular basis.
Press Releases Are About Exposure Not Just Ranking
The bulk of press releases published online do include links and often the links are optimized with relevant anchor text, but ranking in the search engines is not the typical reason to publish a press release these days. Sure, keyword rich content is a smart idea, but what press releases really excel at is helping you garner a higher level of exposure (but not the kind picture on the left 🙂 ). You can point the spotlight on them not only from your site or blog, but also via all your social media profiles on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and more. This can and does get people sharing with one another, helping to spread the story naturally.
If you serve a particular niche, then you might also consider contacting bloggers in your niche or publications that focus on it and letting them know about your press release. You would be surprised by how well a good press release can do in terms of being welcomed for providing content to those who want to use it. This is why it is especially important to mention your location and ways to contact your business. You want to make sure that all this exposure at least has the chance to lead to more sales. Beyond promoting your primary site, don’t forget to mention how readers can get connected with you through social networks your business participates in. The basic idea here is to make it very easy for those who enjoyed the content of the press release to come see what your business is all about.
Tell Stories and Grab Attention to Succeed
In order for press releases to really succeed, it is important to have more than just good writing – you need a good story. The better the story, the more chance that it will get spread far and wide, bringing you in traffic and generating interest in what your business offers. If you’re already planning to make 2013 a year your business booms, with lots of promotions and exciting new offers, then you will want to use press releases to get the word out. Remember that the media thrives more on ‘stories‘ than it does on ‘straight facts‘. This doesn’t mean you should be dishonest in your press releases – far from it – instead, find a way to make your offer tie in to current events happening in the world today such as holidays, new legislation being passed that favors your customers or market, seasonal changes and so forth. You should make your stories interesting and even exciting.
Keep your press releases newsworthy because you don’t want to restate things you’ve already said about your business. There is nearly always news happening around the globe that you can ‘piggyback‘ on and introduce your company from a fresh perspective. Stay aware of this and even set up some Google News Alerts for keywords associated with your niche so you can stay abreast of changes or important events. For instance, if you sell art posters and you come across a story mentioning a famous painting your company sells posters of that broke an auction record, create a press release that highlights that event and mentions that consumers can get their own poster of the work from your business. This is just one example and there are countless others, but it should start you thinking in the right direction.
If You Serve a Specific Area Be Sure to Tap Into Locally Focused Media
Small local businesses often forget just how powerful press releases can be for them. For one thing, there is likely to be at least one newspaper that serves the area your customers live in. Your press release can go not just online, but you can send a copy to a reporter or editor at that paper. Formatting your press release in PDF can be a nice way to make it quick and easy to read for reporters, too. If there are bloggers who serve your area, be sure they get a copy of your press release, as well. You never know when a blogger or reporter might also like to set up an interview with you or perhaps even do a feature article on your business. Local media, after all, thrives on local stories that matter to their audiences.
Don’t forget that events in your area can lead to key opportunities for stories to use in your press releases. Maybe an annual festival you will be participating in is worth letting others about or perhaps a recent tragedy found your company giving back to the community – share this information because people do love to read stories of that nature.
Create, Distribute and Promote Widely
Creating the best press release you can should be your first goal, as we have talked about above. In addition, you want to schedule your press releases so that you don’t go overboard and ‘fatigue‘ your audience or come to be ignored by reporters. Keep things as fresh and interesting as you can, even if that means you need to create events just to have a piece of news to base your story around.
The next step is distribution. There are free places to distribute press releases that can work, but you may want to consider how powerful paid press release distribution can be, as well. This is a way to get your story into the hands of more readers and that exposure is often well worth the costs. On your main site or blog, be sure you curate your press releases so that you have them available for visitors who might not find them any other way. In addition, be sure you are reaching out to journalists both online and offline who might be able to use your press release for their own publications and blogs.
Once your press release is distributed, make sure that you take the opportunity to get lots of links pointing to it. You want to create more ways for people to find these stories. Use social media and consider citing your press releases when you do article marketing or guest blogging, too. Over time, you may find that referencing your company’s past comes in handy to show that you’re an authority within your niche and do have a history that readers can respect.
Making Press Releases Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Getting started with press releases is often quite a bit simpler than people think and often the results are impressive. If you’re still sitting on the fence, why not try one out and see how it performs for you? If you’ve follow the information we’ve provided above, you should notice that your business is getting more exposure and maybe even see a boost in traffic. Do remember, though, that press releases tend to be effective over time, lending your business credibility and providing yet another way for people to connect with you. Mix in press releases as part of your overall content marketing strategy and you will not be disappointed. If you aren’t sure what to do, our friends at PrReach are changing the way press releases are done with their social press releases. Check them out by clicking here, and if you need someone to write your press releases for you, well, we would love to help you with that as well.
Are you already using press releases to promote your business or have you tried them in the past? We would love to hear how your experiences were and what you think of this form of content marketing. Leave us a comment below and let us hear your story. If you have any questions, we would be happy to answer them for you, too.