The benefits of press releases include far less costs than other forms of content marketing, aside from being more powerful. But why don’t they work for you?
Many small and big businesses who’ve tried using press releases as a marketing tool often end up lamenting their usefulness. They hardly see press releases driving any worthwhile brand awareness or site traffic.
The problem though may not be the ineffectiveness of press releases, per se. It could be that the tricks and techniques businesses use to create press releases are not “up-to-date” or “smart”.
A well-written press release can unleash a spate of benefits for your brand, product, or service. But you have to be aware of the benefits to aim for and write your press releases in ways to get these benefits.
But first, what is a press release?
A press release is one form of publicity where companies put out news articles announcing new products or services they offer. One key reason for having press releases distributed from your business is that they can help keep your brand in public memory and drive traffic to your business site.
They’re an excellent way to market your company and reach new audiences at a low cost. They cost far less to write and distribute than other forms of content, provided you use the right PR agencies your business can afford.
In case you thought of press releases only as textual communication here’s an example of a press release via video …
In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of using a press release for marketing purposes.
How do press releases work?
Unlike other types of content marketing, press releases tend to follow journalistic conventions. Journalists are taught that every story must include answers for these four W’s (Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?) and one H (How?). After that, they’ll tell you the rest of the story.
Another difference between press release stories and any other kind of content is newsiness—or innovation—as the fulcrum of their story. If there isn’t anything “new” to say, then a press release doesn’t need to be written.
Ideally, a good press release needs to be sent out on an official business letterhead stating the exact date when the news was released. You need to keep it short but sweet.
Including some background context for the company providing the press release is always helpful. In addition, the press release should include contact details for anyone else involved in its creation so they can be contacted later if necessary.
How should you use a press release?
Today, experts believe that a good press release shouldn’t look like one from years ago. Old press releases were bland, factual communications about news from a brand or business. Journalists then had to use these press releases as the basis for their interestingly written stories.
These days, journalists simply publish press releases as stories – in an “as-is” condition, without any editing. In short, press releases automatically turn into web content the minute they are dispatched to PR houses and approved for airing.
That’s why press releases have to be treated like marketing content. While being newsworthy, they also have to be written to offer reading value and use the brand tone of voice.
The major benefits of a press release
A good press release has several advantages for business, brand, and traffic … including these 21 points:
1. You’ll get quick exposure to an established audience
If you’re launching a new brand or website, press releases are powerful tools for gaining attention from important media outlets.
You get them interested when you want to write an article about something new or interesting or innovative.
A press release is a good way to get instant publicity for your site if you’re working with a reputable media outlet.
2. Press releases can provide you an affordable value
It’s important for any online business to keep its marketing and advertising costs under control.
Press release writing services are inexpensive but highly effective. Press releases typically offer relatively low costs compared to other types of marketing efforts.
To keep the cost of a press release down even further, here are several things that business and brand owners should be aware of:
- Check the billing cycle of the magazine where you send the press release
- Check the cost of press release placement vis-à-vis expected views and engagement
- The distribution channels the media releases will be sent to, relative to where your audiences are located
3. You can see increased potential prospects, leads and sales
In addition to generating awareness for your product/service among potential clients, press releases can be used to increase traffic to your site and boost conversions.
You may be surprised by the results.
To increase the likelihood of generating leads through your press releases, focus on highlighting your key products and services within them.
4. You can gain some major SEO benefits from press releases
When you get a press release from a news outlet, most likely they’ll link back to your site or the product page.
Backlinks from high-quality sites send out signals to Google (or any other search engine) that your site has good content.
These signals improve your page ranking within Google. It’s therefore important to consider Search Engine Optimization for your press release content so you get good organic traffic.
5. You can galvanize the flow of traffic to your website
A press release can be an effective way to drive relevant traffic from news sites.
It’s important before publishing any kind of news story that you understand its purpose.
If you leave the name of your website on the press release, then people visiting the site from the news outlet might be interested in your products or services.
6. You can develop valuable relationships with PR firms
If you’re going to spend any time (or money) on a press release, then it makes sense to establish some sort of professional connection with the PR firm that releases it.
You want firms that target people who fit into your ideal customer profile.
You might get some discount if the first press release goes really well for them. Getting discounts from PR firms is one of the best ways for you to save money when doing public relations.
7. You can establish a new marketing channel for your business
With press releases, your business can add a whole new marketing channel to the overall marketing mix.
But remember … a press release helps you to get media attention for something that may otherwise not receive any publicity at all.
Press releases shouldn’t replace existing marketing efforts but rather supplement them.
8. You can create greater credibility for your business brand
Getting your brand named and spoken about by a leading media publication can give your substantial recognition.
Those who often release news stories are three times more likely to gain loyalty from their followers than those who don’t regularly share content.
Press releases act like trust-building tools between brands (or businesses) and their potential customers.
9. You can extend your marketing efforts with lower costs
A press release costs less than most other forms of marketing. But for maintaining the costs at an affordable level, there are certain considerations.
PR agencies that offer to send out monthly press releases about you on a retainer basis are not cost-effective.
You may not have something newsworthy every month and you may even degrade your brand. Using PR agencies on a “pay as you go” mode may give you better returns on cost.
10. Touching a chord with targeted audiences is easier
A press release can be an effective means of reaching and impacting your target market. Press releases you write for your intended audiences should have newsworthiness and authenticity.
Most importantly, your communication must strike a chord with your audience.
Your goal here is to communicate your business news with the main objective is to get people’s attention. But the real value for the reader is when it is news they can use.
11. Press releases can double up as ads with the same benefits
Normally, businesses would have to consider advertisements at prohibitive costs to be featured in leading magazines, news sites, or blogs.
Press releases can easily replace ads, if you are smart about it.
In fact, one measure used by online PR agencies for measuring the success of their clients’ campaigns is “ad value.”
12. Press releases can do enormous good for your image and reputation
When news stories from reputable sources appear in respected publications, they help establish credibility for your brand. This is the biggest benefit of press releases.
As more news stories feature your company’s name, your brand recognition improves and your image becomes positive.
Among the other key benefits, press releases allow you to become seen as an expert in your field.
13. Gaining traction with your branding becomes much faster and easier
News stories featured in newspapers, magazines, news sites, blogs, and social media speed up the positive impact on your branding.
They help you rise to recognition in your industry and especially among the elite circles of your niche.
They also help grow a positive perception of your brand within your business.
14. Your business can earn brownie points through “public disclosure”
Press releases, that offer newsworthy communication from businesses along with all the pros and cons, can be skillfully used as a means of “public disclosure”.
This kind of openness enhances your brand trust among your prospective customers as well as the general public..
Further, if your disclosures are enriched with validating research results, or quotes by experts, they can burnish your brand immeasurably.
15. Share of mind can become share of market if press releases are strategized
Press releases increase the visibility of your brand in the media.
Being the first brand that comes to mind (i.e. Top of Mind or TOM) must be the aim for all businesses operating in sales.
With press release activities planned for the long term, you can improve your brand’s share of mind and share of market by making your brand communication publicly validated by the news magazines that help shape public opinion.
16. Press releases can help you encash on good business news with speed
When your business hits a high or a significant milestone in its growth – or makes a buzz with its activities – press releases offer the fastest way to convert readership of your press releases into traffic to your site.
Spurts of high traffic, if converted, can enable speedier and greater sales.
No content marketing can work as well as a press release to spike sales whenever a boost to your earnings are needed.
17. When your chips are down you can control the story the public hears
Press releases grant you lots of control over the content of your news. In business downtimes, this is especially valuable.
Press releases are an excellent way for you to communicate your intentions, describe your products’ unique values, and address any concerns people might have had about you, your services, or your business.
They are also great for neutralizing any badmouthing that happens on the social media channels. Bad news travels faster than good news unless you can stop the slide by timely positive corrective communication.
18. With press releases you can do proactive alerts management
Most of the media releases that get wide distribution tend to be announcements. However, there’s another kind of press release that you might consider releasing: a consumer alert release.
Alerts help forewarn consumers when situations could be dangerous for them or others.
For example, letting your target audience know of security breaches, or potential phishing, or malpractices in your industry, could be a great way to show your business cares.
19. Press releases can win you quicker popularity on social media
Take a tour on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to see just how popular press release content is on social media. People love tweeting or sharing hot news.
When you create a press release, be ready to use the buzz (and virality, if you get it) to drive traffic to your website from the social platforms.
Don’t lose the value of press releases by being slack on social conversions.
20. Get potential investors’ interest in your business through the press
Investors, if you’ve noticed, like investing companies that in “in the news for many good reasons”. They tend to believe more in press releases than in your business marketing literature.
So use press releases for more than just attracting more customers. Press releases can help you capture the attention of influential investors with deep pockets.
Such investors could become your future sponsors, or help give you the boost you need at startup time. They can also strategically fuel your growth.
21. A newsy story in one key magazine often gets picked up by others
In his research, Dan Zarrella found that press releases get read by people on average about 275 times per week; however, they’re seen by journalists on average about 70 times each week.
If more people view your press release, then the better chance there is for it to be picked up by other media outlets. This is the Ripple Effect in action.
If your goal is to get lots of views and shares for your press releases, then it might be worth including them in your content marketing strategy.
Some quick FAQs on press releases …
Most business and brand owners have these questions to ask, when we talk of press releases. Are these your doubts too? Then here are the answers …
a. How can you measure the impact of a press release?
It’s no different from how you would measure the success of any other form of content marketing. Previously, journalists had different yardsticks, but now press releases are part of the content marketing game. Measure for visibility, engagement, virality, spikes in sales – or any other goals you may set.
b. How can you pick the right PR firm for your size?
Here are some pointers about the way to go …
- First, know your own budget. Don’t step into press releases without doing research on firms and their prices, and deciding on how much you will be able to spend.
- Select PR firms by the types of clients they have handled in the past, the work they have done and the results they can account for. See if they have specialization in your niche or with your target audience.
- Never get into a long term commitment and start by controlling your number of press releases and paying for each one as you proceed. Study results. See if the firm is one you can build a relationship with.
- Any one can spread a good news press release like wildfire, but when you have to control a reputational setback is when the PR firm also gets tested. Remember that! Ask to see how the firm you’re shortlisting has handled bad-press situations for past clients.
c. Do press releases really work?
The answer is simple. You won’t know if they work if you have no goals set for them to achieve for you. Don’t use press releases aimlessly just to create a market buzz. , Align them to the rest of your content marketing, and measure the responses. In general though, press releases that have really “worthy or hot news” can get you some sensational turnaround results. “Manufactured newsiness” doesn’t work.
d. What are the most popular PR firms or Press Release Distribution Services?
e. What’s a good example of a press release?
A well-received format for a press release can be seen here …
Do share your thoughts on this topic
I’d love to hear your opinions on the points I’ve made on this blog post. Drop me your views in the Comments Section below.
More posts on Press Releases …
- Press Releases: The Ultimate Guide (With Tools And Examples)
- Press Release Format: The 11-Step Plan (With Free Templates)