Keeping Mindful of the Purpose of a Press Release - Think Before You Distribute Your Press Release

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January 22, 2016

Distributing your press release and sending it out to the media is one thing. Ticking the media off so that they are never interested in your future stories is another.

Many moons ago, sending out a press release to the media was only performed by public relations and marketing professionals at agencies or professionals in large businesses who had their own direct media contacts. Fast forward to 2005--more than ten years ago. By then, since the Internet was in full swing, almost anybody could send out a press release to the media.

Although Internet technology created easier and less expensive ways to distribute news to the media, it also created the potential for news distribution to become abused. This became apparent around 2006, when search engine optimizers saw a trend.

Back then, the trend was for businesses to create backlinks from major news sites to their own site through hyperlinked keywords. This practice was known as 'keyword stuffing'. At the time, the words that were hyperlinked were viewed as words of importance to the particular business. Because the websites these hyperlinked words came from were seen as significant, search results tended to emphasize sites that had these backlinks. Also, because of the significance of the website that these key words were coming from, search results for these key words were also boosted.

With the introduction of Google's Panda and Penguin updates and the introduction of "no-follow" for anchored text links, this all came tumbling down like a ton of bricks a few years ago, completely crushing many article sites and directories. Press release distribution also became abusive when businesses simply used a press release as another avenue to advertise their product or service.

So if you're not supposed to use a press release to advertise or stuff with keywords, what is the purpose?

The purpose is to develop relationships with journalists, bloggers or industry writers. Gain their trust so that they follow your news and updates. Once this is attained, they may be intrigued by something you publish and follow up with you to do a full story that could potentially be published in a major newspaper or magazine. That is when the payoff happens.

Another benefit of submitting a properly written press release is that partnering websites may want to re-publish you press release. For instance, 24-7 Press Release Newswire has many partnering sites that re-publish our news to related websites. Potential customers visiting those websites may come across your news. If you did not send out the press release, they would not come across it.

The key to a successful news release strategy is to send them out on a regular basis. This may be bi-monthly or monthly depending on the news cycle of your industry. If things in your industry happen quickly, sending information out more frequently will let journalists know that your business is dynamic, keeping up with the pace of your competitors.

That being said, we don't recommend that you send a press release out just to send something out. Distribute news as it happens, but make sure it is something of genuine interest to your audience.

So what makes for interesting news? A ground breaking technology is always interesting; someone famous that has made an impact on your business (would require authorization from the individual to use their name); a new product, service or widget.

What makes for not so interesting news? The announcement that an individual who is not particularly well known just took on a new role in your staff of under 15 people. Unless the individual is well-regarded in your industry or market, is of celebrity status or is part of a large corporation whose role will impact many people, chances are this will just be noise to the media. Announcing that your business has a new website also will likely be noise to the media unless your website can do something that is ground-breaking or extraordinary.

If you are new to the world of press releases, keep in mind that it can be a bit of an art, and it may take some time to develop your skills in writing good ones. Writing press releases is a tool in your marketing toolbox that should be used on a somewhat consistent basis. But press releases should not be looked at as a silver bullet that will instantaneously boost your traffic and sales to the moon.

Be patient with your strategy. Ensure you write your press release properly in a way that will engage your audience. Use short sentences. Use bullet points. Use a short headline that will draw your reader in. Keep to the point and stay as far away from complex jargon as is possible. If you have something exciting, it will attract readers. If your press release is stuffed with technical jargon, it will turn many of those readers off.

Once you have crafted your press release and sent it out for distribution, you might want to check out our article on 'Increasing the Online Visibility of Your Press Release'.

Being picked up by the media and having a major story written or published is everyone's dream. Following the right format and having a well written press release increases these odds significantly. Over time, if you follow these rules, you should hopefully develop a meaningful relationship with your audience.