Most importantly, use press releases only when you have real news to share
One of the biggest problems with press releases is that lots of brands were using them to announce just about anything.
Did your company build 1000 followers on Twitter? That may be an important milestone for your in-house social media team but it is hardly a story worth announcing to the public.
Did you acquire a pretty well-known niche startup (and have huge plans for it) or hire a niche influencer? This is something worth bringing a journalists’ attention to.
Any time you are considering announcing anything via a press release distribution service, think about that update this way:
- Would journalists and bloggers find it interesting enough to cover and why? Would it bring links and brand mentions?
- Would this story help you better manage your online reputation by associating your brand with well-known entities?
If you answer “yes” to one or both of these questions, that press release may be worth doing.
Press releases are good for SEO for many important reasons, including building brand awareness, creating niche associations with other entities (which will help Google recognize you as a brand and create your own knowledge panel) and, yes, links.
But those links should not be coming from press release syndication networks but from real journalists who’ll find your story interesting enough to cover.
Both PR and SEO professionals should no longer value quantity over quality.
Google has shown itself to be in favor of shareable content—things real people care about, things that can’t be gained with just having some good keywords in the right places.
In the PR placement hierarchy, a dozen cheap, low level clips hold no weight against a single New York Times feature.
To achieve the latter, both the press release and the pitch must be newsworthy, and so must an outreach email.
While there’s no true formula for creating popular content, there are important factors to use in a quality litmus test – the same factors journalists ask themselves when taking on a story:
- Is it original and newsworthy?
- Does it include solid research?
- Does it approach a problem in a unique way, offering a real solution?
- Do I or anyone else care?
Press releases can still be an effective marketing tactic, but only if you put some time and effort into planning, writing, and distributing your company’s press release.
Create more effective copy, build long-lasting relationships with media publishers and journalists, and aim to build brand awareness if you want your press release strategy to succeed.
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