Press releases have become run of the mill for marketing efforts by now, but are most businesses using them effectively?
The popular opinion is that we shouldn't be releasing mundane company news and expecting it to go viral. Press releases of 2020 should provide value and an interesting and relevant enough story to be picked up by news outlets. So, what can companies do to ensure their press release's success?
This month we asked the experts: Are press releases still beneficial in 2019 for marketing?
I would say Press Release is still one of the best, inexpensive, and effective brand promotion strategy - but only if it's newsworthy and done correctly. Which means if you write a press release to announce something unique and fresh, the news will get viral. It will not only help people learn about your website services but also helps in building high-quality backlinks, which in other words, improves your SEO.
However, writing a press release only for the sake of Backlinks in mind is not a good option. Instead, focus more on writing a short piece of content (roughly 400 words) that includes an awesome headline and interesting story about your brand.
Next step is to get your press release on the top by pitching it to journalists and bloggers. Contact writers that publish stories related to your niche because chances are, they will take an interest in your news. Once your content is shared with their audience, your news will gain a good amount of traffic and even likes and shares from social networks.
Syed Ali Hasan - FJackets
Yes, press releases still have plenty of benefit. Honestly, more benefit now than in the past.
If you take this traditional initiative and put a digital spin on it the long-term aspects can be huge. Utilizing inbound strategies, like keyword research and target personas, when writing the release and then adding the press release itself on your website, those releases will benefit your digital marketing strategy whether the release is picked up by the media or not!
It also supports an inbound content strategy by allowing visitors to do their own research with this additional content about your business. Then if the press release is picked up by the media it is a bonus and you can share that earned media as well. That bonus just multiplies the long-term benefits of a properly written and strategically placed press release.
Yvonne Hall, HIVE Digital Strategy
From a digital marketing perspective, press releases are still an invaluable resource for gaining organic backlinks for our clients.
Google states that links are still a major ranking factor, so it's imperative for us marketers to build relevant, high-quality links for our clients' websites. This is where Digital PR comes in, and with that, press releases.
We can use well-written, highly relevant, data-driven press releases to target high-quality domains. After contacting these sites, our end goal will be for them to use our press release as content on their site with the added intention of linking back to our client's domain.
Similarly, for a company which is regularly releasing new products, whichever industry they are in, a press release is still a highly effective way to get the word out. If the product is worth shouting about, it's likely relevant sites will use the press release as their source of information.
Edward Greenland, Found
A helpful tip would be to make press releases look almost like a news article, so writers can picture how your news release could serve as a story for their media outlet. Reporters are interested in telling readers stories, so the best you can do is provide them with such content, instead of merely trying to sell your brand's latest products or even the last quarter's results
Caio Bersot, EnergyRates.ca
The reason why press releases seem to be less relevant than they were a decade ago is that most are aimed solely at gaining links and brand awareness rather than actually distributing useful content. SEO is ever-changing and we must adapt our press releases to the current SEO standards. This essentially means you need to provide useful content that will interest your target audience while also improving your business and products. Focus the press release on the media instead of on backlinks.
Stewart Small, KTTP
As traditional marketing practices evolve, it's sometimes difficult to discern between which 'old world' practices are still relevant and which are not. Press releases have certainly lost their luster, mostly due to their overuse and abuse by marketers. But they still have a place in a robust PR strategy.
My best advice for marketers who are trying to decide whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze; have something to say. This hasn't really changed over the years. As the accessibility to PR tools has gone up and consumers are bombarded with more and more information, our jobs as marketers are to determine what's actually worth saying.
Once you've determined that your story is worth telling, you come to another fork in the road for your decision-making process; is a press release really the best distribution channel? Sometimes, the answer is a definite, "Yes!" but there are others where social media might be a better fit. Do you need local or national coverage? Is this relevant for your fans and customers? Your industry or sector? At Clean Origin, we've got it wrong before but we always take time to stop and consider both our type of information and the most relevant audience before pushing out a press release.
Haley Anhut, Clean Origin
Press releases absolutely still have value in 2019, but only if they're used sensibly as part of a long-term marketing plan. If you're looking for a quick fix, press releases aren't going to get you there.
The major benefit of a Press Release is your overall brand image. They tend to be a more formal and reputable tool, and they allow you to control the perception of your company or brand.
Despite not having a huge SEO value, even if you only earn no-follow links, it's still a great addition to your link profile, so there are some SEO benefits, but these are unlikely to be huge.
Press Releases are often picked up by journalists and publications and can help you build up a relationship with those publications or outlets, but this does all come at a cost, as Press Releases are expensive.
In short, Press Releases are really good if you're looking to improve your brand reputation and lift your company profile, but you need to make sure they're going to be worth the investment.
Sam Orchard, Edge of the Web
Press releases are still beneficial for marketing in 2019 if they are announcing actual news. A new business launch is newsworthy. That so-and-so was hired as a branch manager is not.
I've recently seen press releases get blasted out about a new business, and sure enough major publications picked up on the story, leading to the founders being interviewed on national television. So before you balk at press releases, consider this: other than you, who exactly is going to tell the world about your (or your client's) business?
So while you shouldn't expect the world to stop because of your press release, it's not unreasonable to expect some attention that's good for business, assuming of course that your press release is actually news-worthy.
Logan Allec, Money Done Right
The press release is dead, and it has been for years. Over the last 15 years, we've seen the number of working press in North America decrease by half. Veteran pros have taken early retirement or simply been let go, being replaced by a phalanx of lesser educated, lesser experienced and lesser paid professionals who are now responsible for three times the content of their predecessors.
To hope that someone reads your press release is to hope that money will fall from the sky. Instead, use short, two paragraph story pitches that lay out your narrative, including contact information for your in-house sources. Instead of trying to drive your agenda through the media, find ways to help media contacts do their jobs faster. Don't be overtly commercial, as the response you'll probably get -- if you get one at all -- will be "buy an ad."
Tony Panaccio, Bold Blue Campaigns
The communication game has changed. No--the communication game has always been in flux, and we've entered an age where target markets have blinders on to ads and ears shut to push messages, organic content has become extremely valuable to marketers. But audiences have evolved in how they consume, again--gone are the days of bait-and-switch inbound marketing, where a 12-field form fill is rewarded with cheap, poorly-produced content.
Press releases are still enormously valuable for getting the word out. But there's an art to constructing a press release that resonates; one that reaches your audience and is impactful.
The first rule of thumb is that not everything deserves a press release; save these special vehicles for the most news-worthy of announcements. Second, think of reach. Your single company might have brand recognition, but what would incorporating a partner's name in the announcement potentially do? Double or triple your reach and potential audience size. And finally, tie the press release to a real-life ("IRL") event or date, like a conference. This again goes to expanding your reach and impact, and double as an invitation to readers to connect in the real world with your company.
Press releases are still a valuable tool for marketers--so long as they're configured properly to rise above the noise. When it really boils down to the bottom of it, think about what you'd read in a PR; your audience would likely appreciate the same content as you would.
Jessica Thiele, VLOMNI