On October 28, 1906, a Pennsylvania Railroad train derailed into a lake and killed more than 50 passengers. That day, public relations professional Ivy Lee convinced the railroad company to issue a statement before the media could publish any misinformation or misleading stories about the accident.
Lee created the statement and gave it to journalists at the site of the train wreck. Two days later, the New York Times printed Lee’s statement in its entirety, and that announcement is now known as the first press release.
Nowadays, you’re more likely to win the lottery than get your press release published in the New York Times. Yet, one of the oldest public relations tools is still one of the most effective. Press releases should be an essential component of every marketing strategy, and the benefits go far beyond media coverage.
Here are five ways press releases can add value to your brand and marketing efforts:
Build long-term relationships with media
You can have a well-written press release, trending story angle, and the best publicist managing your campaign and still not get any coverage or media hits (as we say in the PR world). In fact, there are thousands of press releases distributed daily, and journalists are looking for credible sources with consistent online visibility. Therefore, sharing relevant news and information over time will prove that you’re a reliable source and thought leader in your industry. This type of proactive outreach will eventually build trust and show that you’re not just interested in promoting your product or service. Reporters want to know that you genuinely care about current issues and want to be a valuable source of information for their readers or viewers.
Improve your SEO
There’s a lot of misinformation about SEO (search engine optimization) and press releases, so let’s clarify a few things. Not too long ago, press release links from leading news-sites could significantly increase search engine rankings. Then came an influx of irrelevant, spammy press releases, so Google started penalizing sites that carry these links. As a result, press releases distributed via a newswire service contain nofollow links, which doesn’t provide that extra boost on Google. So, is there any real SEO benefit from a press release? Absolutely. Nofollow links are working hyperlinks that direct people to your website and can generate the same amount of web traffic as dofollow links. A professionally written press release can deliver lots of organic traffic when someone shares your content via social media, visits your website, or includes your brand in a news article.
Manage your online reputation
Reputation management is shaping the way people perceive your brand. Managing your online reputation involves monitoring, influencing, and improving the conversations and information about your brand on the internet. Digital magazine articles, Google reviews, and social media posts can influence what and how customers or potential customers think of your brand. The key to effective ORM or online reputation management is to control your message. When you proactively develop content like press releases, you have the opportunity to showcase positive things about your brand like business and industry awards, a new product launch, or a new store location. So, let’s say you’re a restaurant owner, and there’s a negative blog post about the long wait time for takeout service. You’ve made every effort to improve your service and invested in a new food ordering system. However, that negative blog post just keeps popping up online whenever people search for your restaurant. One way to solve this problem would be a solid ORM strategy that includes a press release announcing the new food ordering platform and how it will address the need for faster takeout service.
Attract influential investors
Many startup founders believe they should focus on raising capital before doing any marketing. The truth is public relations and, more specifically, press release distribution can be greatly beneficial during the fundraising stage. Investors aren’t just buying into your big idea or innovative product. They’re also investing in your vision and expertise. Founders and entrepreneurs can use press releases to position themselves as experts or thought leaders. This type of brand strategy will make potential investors more confident about putting money into your product or service.
Build trust with customers
Although press releases are traditionally a media relations tool, it’s also a great way to improve customer relationships. Sharing news about how you’re giving back to the community or your company’s achievements can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. According to a recent study, 75 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase products or services from companies that support a cause they agree with. Clients and customers also want transparency and keeping them informed about your business values or changes in your company will build a trusting relationship. So how do you market this content to your customers? In addition to wire distribution, you should publish press releases on the company’s website and share relevant announcements via newsletters, social media channels, or email blasts.
Curious about how press releases can help your marketing strategy? Schedule a free consultation here or call us at (678) 957-7675.