Not too many years ago, the SEO crowd “discovered” the press release as a possible tool for site promotion and gaining backlinks. Unfortunately, they latched on to PR’s like a barnacle attached to the side of a ship, in the belief that they could load up their backlink portfolios with a ton of authority site links.
The current opinion within the SEO industry is that search engines are expecting that any embedded links in a press release should be nofollow, and as a result, the interest of many SEO’rs in using press releases has waned a great deal, as this crowd’s attention span is pretty short, and they have long ago gone on to be distracted by other, shiny new toys.
To that, I say, MOST EXCELLENT! Now that the spammers and scammers have largely left this arena, press releases are coming back in vogue — but this time as a useful part of your overall Content Marketing (CM) strategy, rather than as a backlink-acquisition opportunity.
But Aren’t Press Releases Basically Dead?
Here’s some quick proof that the venerable PR is not dead – Just go to any of the big press release syndicators – PRNewswire, PRWeb, etc. Look at the thousands of press releases they have in their archives, with multiplied hundreds of them being submitted daily.
And it’s not just major corporations using them — you will find all types of businesses, in all types of markets/niches. Big and little, national, international and local. All of them are using press releases. They would not be using them (in many cases, quite often, at considerable expense) if they did not work.
That’s a fact. Now ask yourself a question, “If all these companies are using press releases, why would some people say they are dead?”
Sometimes it might be the desire to be controversial (controversy sells) — but often the naysayers are trying to present some other sales/marketing approach, or publicity strategy, as a solution that works “today,” so of course, they would like you to believe that other approaches do not work.
But as you can plainly verify by doing your own checking, the humble press release is alive and well, and working just as effectively as they always have.
The Press Release Competition: The Benefits You Can Win
Bronze Medal: If you use any one of the better PR syndication services, if they allow for some embedded links, you will get some SEO for your site, even if those links are nofollowed (and for the record, any mass-duplicated content should be nofollowed to prevent any search engine penalties for duplicate content issues). Just because links are nofollowed does not mean that they have no value.
Silver Medal: Press releases give you a sharable tool. You can post your release on your own site or some other property with a link back to your site, like a landing page. You can also send out social media announcements with a link to it. You can promote the press release link, of if you have actually secured some media coverage, you can link out to their URL where you are being mentioned. You can also post an announcement, of course, on your company blog site and notify people via emails and newsletters.
Gold Medal: You will win the gold if your press release generates some additional target site traffic from interested parties — and even more so if you are able to get some real media attention. This can be hard to achieve, obviously, but it can happen, especially if you are reporting on ground-breaking results and studies, market-changing products and services, and hook in with hot/trendy topics.
Let Us Help You Brainstorm Some Ideas For Press Releases
One reason that press releases are so useful is that you can come up with all sorts of angles and reasons why a PR should be released.
Here is a small sample list of reasons why today (or tomorrow) might be a good time to send out a press release:
- Upcoming staff (personnel) Changes
- Charity Events
- Contests (For Charity)
- Announcing Research/Study Results
- Business Mergers/Acquisitions
- Industry Recognition
- Current Events Tie-In
- New Patent or Trademark Secured
- Pricing Changes – Special Sale
- Response to Media Attack
- Scholarships Available
- Opening of a New Branch (Location)
- Special Visits – Special Visitors
- Interesting Product Releases
- Convention/Trade Show Appearances
- New Direction of Business
- Awards and Certifications
- High Rankings/Ratings
- Release of a White Paper
- Holiday Tie-In
- TOS Changes (If Significant)
- Client Testimonials
- Viral Videos
An important caveat: Remember that press releases are about tying in with the interests of the public, not your interests or that of your company. Arousing curiosity with something truly newsworthy will make your press release effective.
Ninja Press Release Tactics
- Instead of providing quotes from people within your business structure, try to go to a third party, someone with a reputation who is known in your field of operations. A positive quote or endorsement from them, used in your press release, will help to make it impressive, and might just make a media person sit up and take notice.
- Try to provide links to “related resources” in your press release – PDF’s, videos, infographics, checklists – that can be downloaded by interested parties. If you track the number of downloads, views, etc. this can give you some useful engagement metrics.
- Ask for contributors. Why not announce an industry survey or poll and invite qualified individuals to participate through a press release? This can drive very focused traffic to your site, and you can offer other freebies or newsletter signups on the survey landing page. At a later date, you can announce the survey results in another press release. And surveys or polls of large groups of people in an industry can command a lot of attention once the results are announced — and you can build a reputation in that area if you repeat the survey yearly.
- Plan in advance. Always try to plan press release distribution well in advance. First of all, establish a date for the release to be published, and then work backward from that date to set the content writing completion date.
- Email the world! Once your press release has been released, don’t forget to send a quick note to your list of industry big-shots and stress that their leadership might be interested (make sure it would, in fact, interest them).
- You’ll need specialists. Press releases are special tools, and they have to be written in the proper way. Flub this and it will be a wasted effort. Let people who know how – do it right the first time.