When to Use a Press Release (and when not to)

Reporters’ inboxes are flooded with press releases. As the market has become more saturated with low-quality releases, the high-quality news has gotten lost in the crowd. While press releases are still a viable marketing tactic, they have taken a backseat to some other digital tactics that are more measurable, targeted and cost effective. By coupling press releases with these new tactics, marketers can breathe new life into this old standby.

When a marketer creates a public relations strategy, the first order of business is often to publish press releases. However, the game is changing, and marketers should know when press releases benefit their strategy, and when they don’t. The following points will help you determine when a press release is the best course of action.

The Benefits of Press Releases

Other publications will pick it up

The purpose of a press release is to get as many eyeballs on your news as possible. Many companies achieve this by posting a press release to the wire, where it will be sent out to thousands of publications, and ultimately posted elsewhere online.

But how do you get attention this way? You can start by releasing quality content. For example, releases with data get picked up more. But you also need to time it right. Press releases are more likely to be viewed by both the media and consumers over the weekend and at the beginning and end of the week. For more views, avoid distributing during that humpday slump.

 Link building

One of the biggest benefits of public relations is the link building that comes with media coverage. Even though the press release itself doesn’t help with search engine optimization (SEO), the resulting editorial coverage does. Be sure your release includes key words that you want to rank for, so that when journalists see your release, they will use those words as well.

There is tremendous synergy between SEO and PR. The press garnered by press releases is a huge win for SEO managers everywhere. As a bonus, coverage often also comes with inbound links back to your website. All of this means you can’t depend on your release to do all the work. It is simply a way to communicate your story to the rest of the world, but you can use took slike keywords and helpful links to your advantage.

 They’re an important resource for journalists

A press release is an opportunity to deliver all of the information you want journalists to know in one package. Even external documents like earnings presentations and research documents, can be made available in a press release. This makes it easier for journalists to quickly find accurate information about your company.

An alternative to sending a release on the wire is to send your release directly to a journalist over email. This makes writing about your company easy for journalists and establishes a strong relationship that will help guarantee future coverage.

The Drawbacks of Press Releases

A release on its own will not improve your SEO

As stated above, press releases only help your SEO if there is additional content published as a result of your release distribution. Popular belief is that press releases help your SEO, but a recent article by a Google expert says otherwise.

This is because press releases are only syndicated for a certain amount of time before they are taken down. Even if they are packed with keywords and your company’s name, their temporary status does not lead to any progress in SEO rankings. Your PR strategy shouldn’t depend entirely on releases for SEO success.

 Press releases don’t reach consumers

Although they might get the attention of journalists, press releases alone are not an effective consumer communication strategy. Many consumers don’t know what press releases are, and they prefer to get their information in a way that is easy to understand and feels natural, like news articles. When thousands of stories are posted every hour, readers want to be able to understand them quickly.

What this means for marketers is that in addition to posting releases, you should make sure the content is somewhere else in a better format, like a blog post, so that your audience can access it. Rather than promoting your release through social channels and marketing emails, you can promote your blog post to achieve the same goals.

The effectiveness of press release is difficult to measure

Marketers measure success through data. However, unlike other marketing strategy components, press releases are extremely difficult to measure, making it hard to prove their success. Do not rely on press releases to prove that public relations efforts are necessary. Press can be measured in some ways, like how many news outlets post your release or referral traffic from the release, but it’s hard to track how many customers or prospects are generated as the result of a press release.

Press releases are expensive

Posting just one press release over the news wire can cost over a thousand dollars. Often, they are not picked up by journalists and are just reposted on other websites. Wire press release distributions have become outdated as public relations efforts rely increasingly on building relationships with the media rather than sending out hundreds of emails to journalists you don’t know.

Instead of spending money posting releases on the wire, spend time building connections with journalists, learning what stories they’re looking for and what topics they write about. Building these relationships with the media will continue to pay off.

If you have any questions about whether or not a press release is right for you, contact Geraci Media here.