The venerable press release is typically a forgotten component of any marketing effort, especially when it comes to SEO strategies for web sites. Many people, when a press release element is suggested for their web site’s promotional strategy, think it’s a quaint idea that won’t do much for them. This is mainly because they (mistakenly) believe the press release to be a relic of a bygone print era when newspapers would pick up a press release to fill space or even subscribe to a press release service or two in order to capture breaking news from companies and organizations.
Many of these folks are surprised to discover that the press release is alive and well in the 21stCentury. Using press releases intelligently can be a powerful tool in your marketing campaign for three main reasons: Press releases are widely published and indexed, have a sheen of the official about them, and are entirely under your control.
For Immediate Release
The humble press release is basically a self-written news story. The word ‛news’ is important, because the purpose of a press release is to announce something newsworthy to the ‛press’ – which in the modern age is basically the entire Internet plus old-school media. A press release that is simply an advertisement for your services won’t do well, and in fact will now be punished by Google in its search rankings.
But a properly composed press release that actually announces something new can be picked up very widely. News aggregation sites will automatically slot press releases from approved sources into their feeds, and many blogs and web sites in your industry will use press releases either as inspiration for their own writing or as supplementary content on their site. A simple press release can be very widely re-published, generating plenty of hits.
The press release has a classic reputation. As one of the last remaining tools of the old guard of journalism and news, the press release has an “official” feel and many people don’t realize that you can write and publish your own. The formal structure of press releases and the requirement that they be somewhat newsworthy combine to give the press release an instant authority that blog posts and even soft articles about your company, product, or services lack.
Additionally, the press release is simply a source of information, which many readers find useful as opposed to a piece of advertising, which they often find irritating. Here again the structure and brevity of a press release encourages readers to read, because they know it won’t take much time or effort, and thus is worth a quick investment.
The final reason you should be using press releases in your marketing and SEO campaigns? Control. You can write (or approve) every press release to order, ensuring that only the information you want out there is included. You can control the style, the length, and the contact information used.
You can’t control what people do with your press release, that’s true. A blogger or other writer who uses your press release as a source may re-write it or use only parts of it. But when the press release is used as-is (and it will be found in unadulterated form in search engines if nothing else) you can exercise complete control over what people see. That’s powerful marketing.
Don’t discount the humble press release! It’s a tool that has one of the best cost/effort-to-reward ratios in the business.