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Thread: Press releases as a marketing tool

  1. #1
    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Press releases as a marketing tool

    A frequent question on EP and other forums goes something like this: I've got a great new product / service / website, and I'd like to get it mentioned in the media. Would uploading a press release help with this? If so, how do I go about it?

    The questioner is usually referring to one of the sites that let you upload your own press releases - either for free or for a fee - in the expectation that journalists will find them, resulting in useful coverage for your business in newspapers, magazines, blogs, journals and the like.

    I've never used these services myself. But, as a former magazine journalist, I can tell you about my experiences on the receiving end.

    Frankly, the idea of a journalist trawling a press release site to find something newsworthy is ludicrous. A professional journo will never go out of his or her way to look for releases, for the simple reason that they are already bombarded with releases from all directions. If I received a release from an established PR company, or from a source that I recognise, I might give it some attention. Otherwise I would probably discard it after only a cursory glance. What I would never do is to actually go out and look for press releases.

    In addition, the majority of DIY releases are so badly written that they are a pain to read. If a release doesn't fully justify its existence in the opening paragraph, I wouldn't waste any more time on it. So that's another reason that home-brewed releases stand little chance of success.

    I therefore believe that uploading to one of those services is a waste of time and money. But, as I said, I have no experience of using these sites. Maybe they do offer a useful service after all.

    Does anyone here have any experience of uploading their press releases in this way? If so, it would be interesting to know what the result was. And what lessons did you draw from it?

    Mike

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    I uploaded press releases to a couple of different press release sites when my law firm was first formed, when it opened a new office in another city, when one of my partners won a significant case and more recently when we added a new attorney to the firm. I also sent the press release directly to a number of local newspapers.

    In each case, a few of the local papers published the news (generally not the news release verbatim). I assume that the publication was due to my sending the news release directly to the newspapers, not by picking up the item from the press release sites.

    A few websites did reprint the news release verbatim, but in most cases it appears that those websites more or less indiscriminately republished a feed from the press release site. For example, Reuters reprinted the original release in 2008 that was published on PRNewswire. A few of the websites included an active link to our website, which may have helped in the SERPs back before Google started discounting links from those types of sites.

    I don't think that posting to the press release websites was really productive. I don't create a press release unless I think it is worthwhile to send it directly to local news sources. Since I have already set up accounts at a some press release websites, I will probably go ahead use them if I am preparing a press release, since it is easy to cut and paste the release into their forms.

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    I did some press releases for my sites selling products, with releases of new versions. Use some cheaper options, as well as the top ones like PRWeb.com.
    There are some certain seo benefits and it brought a little bit of traffic as well, but generally the results are not very spectacular.

    The main benefit was probably in reputation building aspect as there were now more articles about the product, more mentions, a little bit more buzz going and also just to reclaim some of the top spots in google for the product name.

    The PRweb release ranked in G briefly and bought some decent traffic, but no more than 1k visitors total I think. Didn't do it again and as it wasn't worth the high price tag of about $200 at the time.


    I'd say overall it's a good thing to have, especially when you have some actual and interesting news to tell about your site or product, service. And it can have some benefits for seo, marketing and overall brand recognition and promotion, however you shouldn't overdo it and shouldn't expect much from it, but just treat it as a part of your overall marketing strategy.

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    dsieg58 (17 June 2014)

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    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DomainMagnate View Post
    ... There are some certain seo benefits and it brought a little bit of traffic as well, but generally the results are not very spectacular. ... The main benefit was probably in reputation building aspect ... bought some decent traffic.
    Thanks for sharing that. I don't dispute there might be SEO benefits (although I would be surprised if they were significant). And I take your point about reputation building. My main point was that you shouldn't expect these sites to be any help in getting your press releases in front of professional journalists looking for something to write about.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl View Post
    Thanks for sharing that. I don't dispute there might be SEO benefits (although I would be surprised if they were significant). And I take your point about reputation building. My main point was that you shouldn't expect these sites to be any help in getting your press releases in front of professional journalists looking for something to write about.

    Mike
    Yea that's true, almost no chance of that, however helpareporter.com would be a lot better for that purpose and free.

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    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DomainMagnate View Post
    ... helpareporter.com would be a lot better for that purpose and free.
    I hadn't come across Help a Reporter before, but I know of several long-established (even pre-web) services which work in the same way. From the journalist's point of view, they are a better deal than bulk press release uploads, mainly because you're dealing with recognisable quotable sources (at least, that's the aim).

    From a marketing point of view, these services are probably only useful if you can claim to be an authority on the relevant subject- for example, if you were the director of technology at a leading Internet security firm. But not if you were simply trying to promote your run-of-the-mill web design company, for instance. Then again, it probably does no harm to register for the free version of the service; you never know what might come your way.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl
    I hadn't come across Help a Reporter before...
    There's a thread in the Premium Lounge about it from October 2013.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl View Post
    From a marketing point of view, these services are probably only useful if you can claim to be an authority on the relevant subject- for example, if you were the director of technology at a leading Internet security firm. But not if you were simply trying to promote your run-of-the-mill web design company, for instance. Then again, it probably does no harm to register for the free version of the service; you never know what might come your way.

    Mike
    Yea, but you know what they say.. on The Internet everyone is an expert
    The New York Times might be only looking for the very best and credible experts, but there are surely some newspapers that would like to know your take on it a well, even if you're not an COO of a Fortune 500 company.

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    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DomainMagnate View Post
    The New York Times might be only looking for the very best and credible experts, but there are surely some newspapers that would like to know your take on it a well, even if you're not an COO of a Fortune 500 company.
    Yes, that's possibly right - especially if you are local to the newspaper in question.

    Mike

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