Getting your brand, products and services in front of your customers is a fundamental goal of online marketing. You can’t simply put up a website and expect people to find you without taking steps to market your offering and develop recognised presence in your industry. If you can get people reading, commenting, visiting and linking to your site you are well on the road to success, and press releases can be an invaluable tool for ticking some of the right boxes.
The main goal of a press release is to promote your business to your potential customers and influencers in your industry. By influencers we mean bloggers, journalists and industry experts. Your potential customers and influencers are always on the lookout for breaking news and the latest information in their areas of interest. By producing topical, newsworthy content in the form of press releases and distributing them appropriately, you are providing what they want and achieving your goal of getting your brand in front of them. The success of press releases depends on 2 key areas and a bit of luck. The first of these is the content of your press releases. Although people like to read news about their favourite subjects they hate to be misled, aren’t interested in blatant advertising and don’t have the time for content that has no substance. Press releases can be about anything as long as it is newsworthy. Information about your company such as the appointment of a new employee, addition of a new product line, event, an award you have received, can make for viable press releases and have the potential to create interest around your brand. However, the best performing press releases are those that create interest in a subject or topic through research, opinion or a new angle. This kind of press release can create a real buzz around your brand leading to citations and links from valuable sources such as peers and industry journalists. By writing this kind of press releases you are going beyond simply getting your brand out there and moving towards becoming known as an authority in your area - something every brand should aspire towards. The second key area is distribution. For maximum success you need to do everything you can to get your press release in front of your target audience use. Sure, some people may read the press release buried within your website, but most will have other methods of accessing and filtering the large amount of information presented to them on a continual basis. While direct approaches such as emails to key journalists still have merit, online channels offer additional benefits in terms of exposure and SEO. Some of these are;
- The major online distribution channels have a good chance of getting your press release into Google or Yahoo news, which can be a great source of additional exposure both to people directly reading the news channels and to people viewing search results pages that contain news listings.
- Online versions of your press release are also likely to trigger Google Alerts making them more likely to be seen by journalists, bloggers or anyone monitoring terms used in your release.
- Many of the online distribution services allow hyperlinks to be placed within press releases. This can be a great way of gaining links from sites that republish your press release.
- Even in situations where your press release is republished without your links, you are still gaining key online brand citations which are building your brand awareness.
There are of course, considerations to take into account regarding ensuring maximum SEO benefit, maximum readability and creating a press release that journalists want to use. While I’m not going to detail these within this post as this isn’t a post about how to write press releases. I will point you towards a resource I often refer to which is sourced from actual journalists (the people you ideally want to get your press release read by) - How to: write the perfect press release for journalists. There are some great tips in here and things to consider when writing your press releases. All in all, press releases are an invaluable part of an SEO campaign. They generate back-links from sources otherwise out of reach, get your brand in front of your target audience and if your press release hits the spot, can create a real buzz around your brand as well as some powerful back-links and mentions, which can have a dramatic effect on your search rankings!