A decade ago, you could write an online press release, post it to a PR website, and get great results. You needed to use appropriate keywords, but your little press release was great value for the time you invested. In 2014, Google’s severe on press releases written purely for SEO – no more free traffic for junk releases.
This doesn’t mean that press releases are worthless, far from it. They’re an essential tool. If you use them correctly, not only will they enhance your marketing campaigns, they’ll also help you to get customers. Consider this: if major companies continue to use press releases, why don’t you?
Let’s look at how you can get real value from the online press releases you create. (Note to self: write more press releases for my own business…)
1. Focus on Your Entire Marketing Campaign, Rather Than a Single Press Release.
You’re launching a new product. You’re running online and offline advertising, you’re using social media to get the word out, you’re blogging – you’re even running a Pinterest contest.
Whether you’re doing a big launch, or a mini one, online press releases fit right in. Be aware however, that press releases aren’t advertising. They’re factual, and are written in the third person.
You’re free to use any angle you like: straight news, or human interest. If you’re looking for media attention, a human interest story may be the way to go. Do customers use your products in unusual ways? What good works have you done lately? Years ago I wrote a press release for a company which helped a lady who ran a shelter for abused pets; it was a lovely story, and got press.
2. Quid Pro Quo: Give and Get.
An online press release is targeted directly to your audience. You’ll reach potential customers who’ve never heard of you. So, make it easy for them to stay in touch. Offer readers a freebie in exchange for their email address.
And of course, use the email addresses you collect. Many small businesses never bother using their customer lists; this is a huge waste of resources.
3. Pitch Your Story to Bloggers in a Sentence or Two.
Bloggers can extend your reach by hundreds of thousands, even millions. Ideally, you’ll have reached out to bloggers long before you launch your campaign.
Pitch your story to bloggers, but keep it short.Greg Kumparak, mobile editor, TechCrunch says:
“Know how to make your pitch in a sentence or two — if you can’t wrap up your own product in a concise and interesting way, we probably won’t be able to either.”
Add a link to your online press release to your pitches.
4. Post Your Press Releases to Your Website.
Press releases are the gift that keeps on giving. Post them to your website, into a “Press” area. Anyone who wants to learn more about you will appreciate your releases. Over time, your press releases will show the evolution of your business; they build your credibility with people who’ve never heard of you.
5. Keep Your Releases Short: Add Support Materials for More Info.
Keep your press releases short: a maximum of 400 words for the meat of the release. Get your point across with your story: aim for an emotional connection. Use a conversational tone. If your eyes glaze over when you’re reading, rewrite – “don’t be boring” applies to press releases too.
Most press release distribution websites allow you to add media to your releases. Take advantage of this. Add documents, images, and videos ( if you have them). Offer the press release as a PDF download.
Online press releases are a wonderful addition to any marketing campaign, yet few small businesses use them. Major companies use them as a matter of course. Try these tips; you’ll be pleased with the results.
Need help with your online press releases? Contact Angela.
You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.