What Your Press Releases Are Doing for Your Business

Press Release Baby

Press releases are fundamental to integrated marketing and public relations, but a surprising number of business owners and marketers fail to adequately measure the results of writing and pitching a release. In order to accurately measure the results of your media relations efforts and ensure those efforts are effective, you must first understand the purpose of a press release.

When to Write a Press Release

Press releases are meant to help journalists do their jobs, not clutter their inboxes. Before sending a press release to reporters or through the wire, determine whether or not the news is truly relevant to your intended recipients.

Target your audience, and don't overdo it. Limiting the number of press releases you send to a specific channel or reporter will help prevent you from being ignored, deleted or flagged as spam.

A press release is an effective way to communicate a wide range of business-related news, including:

  • Introducing a company
  • Launching a new product
  • Launching a website or app
  • Announcing major changes in company name, branding, leadership or business model
  • Receiving a notable award
  • Participating in a big philanthropic event
  • Establishing a new strategic partnership or alliance
  • Announcing a major milestone
  • Announcing results of research your company has conducted
  • Announcing that a key employee has been named to serve in a leadership position in a community, professional or charitable organization
  • Making public statements or taking a position on future business trends or conditions

You will need to use your best judgment to determine if any of the above warrants a press release. If the news in your release does not fall into any of the above categories, consider using another type of communication altogether, such as a blog, social media update or email campaign.

Press Release Channels

The popular method to distribute a press release is through "the wire" - that is, one of the major online news distribution sites, like PR Newswire, Business Wire or PRWeb. These are perfectly good outlets to use, but they are not your only options, and if you have really big news, they're not even your best options.

Press release reprints from the wire do not have the credibility of a news article written by a reporter. A more effective method for pitching a news release involves a lot of research to locate relevant reporters and sending them individual pitches. Think about the audience you are ultimately trying to reach, and then determine which publications and reporters to pursue. This method can be extremely time-consuming, but will produce better results.

Do Press Releases Help My SEO?

There's a misconception that press release reprints can significantly boost your search engine rank. Press release reprints are typically included on a separate page of a channel's website and can be hard to find. Sure, those releases do have some SEO value in that they can appear in searches for applicable keywords. But more often than not, press releases are published online for a short amount of time before they're taken down, meaning there's no long-term benefit for your SEO.

Measuring a Successful Press Release

So, you've decided that your news deserves a press release and determined which reporters and news channels will reach your desired audience. But how do you measure the success of your press release?

Measuring results is the most important part of the process, and unfortunately, the part that is practiced the least. Many rely on the newswire dashboard, which may report back thousands of press release views, but that's the wrong way to go about it.

Instead, go back and consider the goal of the press release. For instance, if you announce a website launch, your goal is to get people to visit your website. A good way to measure the success of a press release announcing the launch is to look for an increase in website traffic.

Always start with a goal in mind before starting your media relations strategy. An example would be setting a goal of a 50 percent increase in website traffic after the press release has been sent. If that number is reached, you had a successful distribution.

Every media relation effort should have a goal. Without goals, you can't measure results.

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