Press releases have been around since the early 1900s, making them one of the oldest forms of promotion. Originally, they were one of the only ways to draw media attention to your business or product. In stark contrast, today’s digital landscape provides many platforms for telling your brand’s story.
In this article, we’ll look at how press releases function in the digital world. We’ll also explore how you can continue to use them to your advantage. Let’s get started!
Why Press Releases Are Still Relevant in the Digital Age
Despite the abundance of information online, press releases are considered one of the best ways to share accurate and relevant news about your business. In fact, 44 percent of journalists still count on them as their most trustworthy source of brand-related leads.
These days, it’s standard for companies to use social media to share their own announcements about new products, events, and other relevant updates for consumers. However, press releases can be used to provide journalists, bloggers, and influencers with a greater depth of information.
For example, National Geographic shares press releases for upcoming events, their latest magazine issues, and new television programs.
In addition to providing details such as premiere dates and times, National Geographic also shares exclusive images and and video content. Various digital publishers can use these assets to enhance their content.
Additionally, press releases can be leveraged to create cohesion across your digital channels, giving you more control over how your company is portrayed in the media. This includes drawing reporters’ attention to key details you want to highlight for consumers that might otherwise be overlooked.
In the example of National Geographic, press releases ensure viewers and readers have accurate information about the brand’s latest news. Their official images and videos enable them to control the quality of the media produced for their shows, magazine, and events.
5 Ways to Leverage Press Releases on Your Website
By today’s standards, press releases may be viewed as a more ‘analog’ form of marketing. However, there are a few best practices you can implement to bring them into the twenty-first century and enhance your overall brand promotion strategy.
1. Keep Your Medium in Mind and Craft Your Press Release Accordingly
The first press release was written before television was invented. The format was originally geared exclusively towards newspapers, but today’s digital landscape offers many more opportunities for sharing updates about your brand.
For instance, press releases published on your site might be picked up by:
- Journalists for online as well as print magazines and news sites
- Bloggers in niches related to your brand
- Social media influencers who promote your products
While mastering the basics of writing a traditional press release still has beneficial applications, you also have to keep in mind that it needs to translate across any or all of the above platforms.
One strategy is to create separate areas in your online press room to accommodate different needs.
This may involve crafting shorter versions of press releases that can be adapted for tweets or Instagram captions. Similarly, you may want to take a page from National Geographic’s book and share images or videos as well.
2. Optimize Your Press Release Like You Would Your Web Content
As we’ll discuss later, it’s wise to share your press releases with existing contacts who can publish formal content regarding your brand’s news. However, if you’re putting them up on a Press page of your site as well, you should take the time to optimize them for search engines.
In terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the practices that work well for your website content will benefit your press releases too. Keyword research and inclusion are crucial for enabling publishers to find your news via Google and other platforms.
Your headline and availability of images can also help your press release get noticed and picked up by publishers. Plus, writers could carry any of these elements over into their final article or blog post, which will ultimately help your visibility as well.
3. Focus on Quality Over Quantity When Publishing Press Releases
Just because you write a press release doesn’t mean your story will be picked up by a journalist, blogger, or other publisher. It’s important to demonstrate why your product launch, event, or other news is important.
In order to do that, it’s wise to focus on quality over quantity when writing your press releases. It’s important to get right to the point and share the most vital information at the top to grab readers’ attention.
Additionally, including validating research can help establish your authority. This may increase your brand’s relevance in the eyes of content creators and news outlets.
On the other hand, if you’re posting weekly press releases that seem irrelevant to publishers’ audiences, you’re likely to lose credibility. Journalists, bloggers, and influencers may start ignoring your updates as a result.
4. Use Your Email Lists to Get Your Message to the Right Publishers
Another way to use press releases is to incorporate them into your email marketing strategy. Just as you can segment your audiences for targeted promotions, you can do the same with your media contacts.
For example, you can create segments for contacts based on their niches, as well as whether they’re journalists, bloggers, social media influencers, or other publishers. This will help you share the most relevant news in the best format with the right creators, improving the quality of your press releases.
Some of the benefits of this approach include the ability to track the impact of your outreach efforts. Most email applications will provide you with detailed information about open rates and click-throughs. You’ll also be able to note if there was any direct follow up that resulted in press coverage.
Just like any other form of online communication, you’ll want to make sure you’re following established etiquette. For example, you can email journalists directly but it’s recommended you do so with care and professional courtesy. Alternatively, many businesses pay for distribution networks to handle this part of the process.
5. Mix Your Media and Combine Press Releases With Other Platforms
We’ve mentioned several times throughout this post that including images and other media in your press releases can be beneficial. Visual content can boost SEO, catch the eye of writers and creators, and help you control your brand’s messaging across platforms.
However, you may also want to consider what are known as social media releases.
They typically include your traditional press release along with embedded images or video, links, and tags. Additionally, social media releases are often shareable so they can be re-posted on followers’ feeds.
The concept of the press release seems to have stood the test of time. Some might say it’s paved the way for other forms of promotion we now use online. In today’s digital landscape, however, it’s important to adapt yours to meet the standards of a wide range of online publications, including social media.
Do you have any questions about creating press releases? Let us know in the comments section below!
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