The press release is an age-old form of brand communication. Its purpose was to relay information about a specific event – or any matter deemed newsworthy – to media outlets in the hope a journalist would pen a news article based on the story contained in the press release, or at least promulgate it in some way. Should the story be picked up by a journalist writing for one of the preeminent regional or national newspapers, this would be a boon for any company or organisation, as it would mean direct publicity and widespread promotion to that publication’s readership.
But the ‘traditional’ press release still holds sway today, despite the dominance of digital media. Press releases are now used by companies to promote news via print, radio, podcast, TV and online outlets, yet are still written in the customarily formulaic style, albeit often with good quality images and videos thrown in to make the content more engaging and digestible for modern readers.
Press releases can complement your existing digital marketing strategy, and be used to support your content marketing, blogging, social media and blogger outreach activities. The power of the press release can still be harnessed by companies with something newsworthy to shout about, and the potential for publicity remains. But how can you use press releases as a form of digital marketing, and what are the benefits of press release marketing?
How can you use press releases as a form of digital marketing?
It is more than a shop window or a digital sales brochure. Your website is a living, breathing marketing ally and should drive your digital strategy. But it can only do this if you take control of its power.
But for your website to deliver the acquisition, conversion and retention targets you have set it in a cost-effective manner it needs regular care, attention and updating.
As mentioned, press releases are generally written by communications professionals or PRs to announce a piece of news that a company wants to make public, but a by-product of press release publication and distribution is expanding your reach online, building brand awareness, increasing referral traffic, and boosting your website’s organic rankings in Google.
There are many ways to use a press release as part of your digital marketing strategy, and as a means of drumming up engagement and driving readers to your website. For example, you can:
- Create a landing page for your press release and track the resulting conversions.
- Optimise the press release as you would a blog post (carry out keyword research, make sure your press release is optimised for certain keywords and adopt usual on-page SEO techniques);
- Use links and anchor text in the copy and ‘nofollow’ the backlinks;
- Use multimedia aids, such as videos and images;
- Include the details which can be used in citations (more on this later) and quotations;
- Consider using a press release distribution site to push your news announcement out to a wider audience;
- Share the press release on your social media channels;
What are the key benefits of press release marketing?
Press releases can be used for promotion via online and offline media. The benefits of press release marketing are numerous, but include:
- Boosting referral traffic. If your press release is syndicated around the web and republished in multiple locations, this may encourage more clicks to your website, thereby exposing your brand to a new audience;
- Boosting Google rankings for certain keywords. By optimising your press release it can rank for keyword-related searches, which will improve organic visibility;
- Broadening audience reach while being awarded free publicity and brand promotion.
What can be considered ‘newsworthy’?
Is your company offering a new product or service? Is it involved in a new charity initiative? Perhaps you need to announce news of a company acquisition, merger or takeover? Or perhaps you’ve just been handed a prestigious industry accolade and want to spread the word? You might be a high street estate agent that wants to get the message out about a new branch office opening or a new management appointment. In all these instances and more, a press release is an effective means of news dissemination.
Press release marketing for location-based businesses
Making press release production and promotion a feature of your digital marketing activities can prove fruitful for businesses of all sizes, but it can also be helpful for companies whose services are partly defined by their geographical location, as is true for many estate agents.
Press release marketing can be effective for location-based businesses, allowing them to share valuable information and increase brand exposure. But it is important to include full details of your logo, business name and business address in each press release for citation purposes.
Google and local ranking
When someone performs a search on Google, local search results are determined by three factors: relevance, distance and prominence. ‘Prominence’ is partly driven by how much information Google has about a business, and it culls this information from across the web. This could be the number of positive reviews a business has assigned to them, links or online directories. By doing as we mentioned above – including citations in your press release prior to publication – you can boost your local ranking in Google.
Just ‘being in the media’ as a result of your press release output will aid your digital marketing efforts. Let’s say you’re an estate agent that regularly promotes new-build developments in the locations you cover. One component of your overall digital marketing campaign should be dedicated to press release production and driving interested parties and potential buyers back to a specific landing page on your website. In this, the press release remains ones of the best mediums through which to unlock the power of publicity.
A citation is the referencing of your business name, phone number or address on another website. A business listing, such as on Google My Business or Yell.com, accounts for a citation. But you can expect your competitors to also have citations on similar channels, so to get ahead of the competition, include your business name, phone number and business address in each press release you write. Once the press release is distributed, new citations will be created every time your press release is published on a different website. These citations will help your website to rank more prominently in the local map results – a must for location-based businesses.
For advice on how your company can benefit from Art Division’s digital marketing experience, contact us today for a no-obligation chat.