Press releases have long been a mainstay of media outreach, but some question their effectiveness in today’s media landscape.
While concerns exist, the good news is that press releases remain a viable tool—but only if used strategically.
This article dives deep into the world of press releases, providing you with everything you need to know to leverage them effectively.
What Is A Press Release?
The press release holds a unique position in the media landscape. While social media platforms have become a powerful force in news dissemination, press releases remain a trusted source for journalists seeking reliable information.
Born in 1906 with a tragic train wreck announcement, the press release has served as a cornerstone of media communication for over a century.
Although some speculate its decline in the face of social media, recent studies reveal a different reality.
While 63% of social media users rely on platforms like Facebook and Twitter for news, and 25% of verified Twitter users are journalists, a surprising 44% of journalists still cite press releases as their most trusted source for pitches.
This statistic underscores the continued relevance of press releases in our digital age. Despite the rise of social media, press releases offer a structured and verified format, ensuring journalists receive accurate and concise information.
Therefore, while social media presents an alternative for gathering news, the press release remains a vital tool for both companies seeking publicity and journalists seeking reliable information.
As the media landscape continues to evolve, the press release is likely to adapt and endure, continuing to serve as a valuable asset for communicators and journalists alike.
How PR Companies Work?
Press release companies like Business Wire and PRNewswire have partnerships with news organizations to distribute their news. Technically, this means they have often servers in these other organizations where they zap their news in a timely manner that fulfills SEC disclosure requirements, which you might care about if you are a public company distributing earnings but otherwise doesn’t matter much since your news could come out a few minutes later here and there without much difference. They also zap to newsrooms directly.
Because Google knows these are news sources, they will more often than not pick up their news in Google news. You can search using source: in Google News to see the pickup counts of different organizations.
How much does a Press Release cost?
A decent press release costs $800-1,5000 and will get you featured in many many popular news sites all over the country. I would highly recommend doing one if you have the money. It’s a very common and decent method for reputation management crisis.
Why Invest In Press Release Distribution
If you truly want to up your PR game, your best course of action would be to direct all of your attention at obtaining editorial placements. These are articles that are written and published by the staff and contributors working directly for that specific publication. These placements get actual traffic and stick around in the serps much, much longer than your typical press release.
But you will likely need a PR agency or specialist of some sort with legit connections in the industry in order to get these done.
And I’ll admit, I may have a bit of a bias in this regard but if you choose to go down the PR agency route, please ensure that you get some form of guarantee. There’s a ton of agencies out there that get paid to issue pointless press releases and conduct “media outreach” that ultimately leads to nowhere in light of traditional methodologies.
When we launched our PR agency, we tried to differentiate ourselves from our competition as much as possible by ensuring we only get paid for the results we deliver. We do our “media outreach” before we ever charge our clients. That’s because we understood that PR nowadays is entirely done on a who-you-know as well as a who-you-pay basis.
It takes quite a lot of resources as well know-how to establish these sorts of connections AND get them on your payroll thereby guaranteeing placements for future projects or clients of yours.
The Benefits of a Press Release
There are five key benefits to incorporating them into your marketing plan:
1. Get Featured on High-Traffic Sites
Unleash the power of press release distribution and amplify your brand’s reach. By utilising this service, your news can be disseminated to hundreds, even thousands, of high-authority media outlets.
This extensive exposure presents a unique opportunity to generate buzz around your products or services and secure valuable backlinks from trusted sources. Imagine the positive impact on your brand awareness and search engine optimization!
2. Demonstrate Social Proof
Securing coverage on major news outlets like FOX, ABC, CBS, or NBC is a fantastic way to showcase social proof and boost your online presence.
Clients of ours prominently display logos of these networks alongside a “featured on” headline, further solidifying their brand credibility. Some even link directly to the news articles or embed videos for increased engagement.
Considering Great Guest Posts For your public relations backlinks? Impress your clients with a wave of new media coverage.
3. Improve Your SEO & Build Backlinks
Achieving a coveted first-page ranking on Google hinges heavily on acquiring high-quality backlinks.
One effective avenue for securing such links is through the strategic distribution of a compelling press release.
Building high-quality backlinks remains a cornerstone of successful SEO strategies. While sheer quantity of links may seem tempting, the focus should shift to securing valuable links from authoritative domains.
Press release distribution, when executed thoughtfully, can be a valuable tool in achieving this goal.
4. Develop Your Brand Awareness
Even without securing a news story or backlink, distributing a press release still holds substantial value for your business. Google indexes press releases, making them appear in searches relevant to your products and services.
This enhances organic discoverability for your brand. Ensure your brand name is consistently mentioned throughout the release to maximize its impact.
5. Improve Your Online Reputation
Proactive reputation management includes consistently issuing positive press releases featuring your brand name. This not only boosts overall brand awareness online, but also helps claim the first page of Google search results for your brand.
With a curated list of positive news stories ranking high, you shape the narrative and influence customer perception before they even reach your website.
How to Get on PR Lists
A lot of the press release distribution services publish your article on NBC, FOX, ABC & CBS affiliate websites, which are mostly worthless.
You want to make sure your article gets posted on one of the premium publications like Bloomberg, Yahoo, MarketWatch, AP, and Benzinga.
For example, If you’re aiming for AP, it’s important you make sure AP’s robots.txt allows crawling, otherwise your article won’t be found on Google or Bing. (Confirm this with the press release distribution service).
Google rolled out an update at the start of the year which treats press release links as “paid for” (spam), so they have little value. However, if your article is on one of the premium websites I listed above, it’ll appear high up in the search rankings.
Top Free PR Submission Websites
- PR Newswire: PR Newswire is a leading global provider of news distribution and earned media software and services. It offers a wide reach and is trusted by many businesses.
- Business Wire: Business Wire is another major player in the press release distribution industry. It provides a global distribution network and offers various multimedia options for your releases.
- Marketwired: Marketwired, now part of Cision, is a reliable platform for press release distribution. It has a broad reach and offers tools for monitoring and analyzing your release’s performance.
- GlobeNewswire: GlobeNewswire is a distribution network that reaches financial, media, and general audiences. It’s a good option if you want to target the financial community.
- PRWeb: PRWeb is a cost-effective option that allows businesses to distribute press releases online. It provides various distribution packages to suit different needs and budgets.
- Newswire: Newswire is a platform that offers press release distribution as well as media outreach services. It can help you reach journalists, bloggers, and influencers.
- 24-7 Press Release Newswire: This platform offers affordable press release distribution services and provides a wide distribution network.
- PR Log: PR Log is a free press release distribution service that also offers premium options. It’s a good choice for smaller businesses with a limited budget.
- OpenPR: OpenPR is a free press release distribution service that allows you to reach a global audience. It’s a good option for companies looking for cost-effective distribution.
- EIN Presswire: EIN Presswire offers affordable press release distribution with various distribution plans. It also provides additional services like media monitoring.
How Do You Write a Press Release?
Press releases are powerful tools for generating media attention and informing the public. However, to be successful, they must adhere to a specific structure and format.
The Essential Elements:
- Engaging Headline: Capture attention and accurately reflect the announcement.
- Summary: Briefly explain the news in a compelling manner.
- Dateline: Include the city, state, and date in AP style.
- Body: Clearly explain the “5 W’s” (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) of the announcement. Prioritize essential information for easy scanning.
- Company Information: Briefly introduce your company and its mission.
- Contact Information: Provide details for media inquiries.
- Clarity and Concision: Aim for a concise and clear body that quickly conveys the key message.
- AP Style: Ensure your press release adheres to AP style guidelines for formatting and grammar.
- SEO Optimization: Use relevant keywords to improve search visibility.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can craft effective press releases that grab attention and generate media coverage.
Press Release Distribution
Leveraging a distribution service significantly amplifies your press release’s reach, potentially securing publication on hundreds of news sources.
Our service guarantees publication on over 300 sites, many boasting high domain authority. We invite you to explore past releases that garnered links from prestigious news outlets with impressive domain authority.
To further amplify your reach, consider manually distributing your press release to targeted journalists. Direct email outreach remains a preferred method for reaching media professionals.
Tailor your message to each journalist’s specific beat and interests to increase engagement. Research reveals that nearly half of journalists (43%) decline stories due to lack of personalization.
However, the potential rewards are significant, with nearly one-third (33%) writing stories based on press releases over ten times per year.
The key lies in crafting a compelling subject line and highlighting the newsworthiness of your announcement to pique their interest.
Rejection isn’t the end of the road. Following up with journalists after submitting your pitch demonstrates your proactiveness and fosters a long-term relationship.
Their current disinterest in your story doesn’t preclude their interest in future releases that align more closely with their needs.
Additional PR Tips For Beginners
Always paste your press release into the body of an email, and be sure to include any formatting (bolds, italics, etc.) in the email to grab their attention. Don’t make the reporter do any unnecessary work, like having to open attachments or click to your website to read the info you want them to read.
Also, a press release is not a pitch.
- A press release is a standalone document that can be republished by any news organization without original reporting. It might prompt original reporting, but that’s not its main goal.
- A pitch is an enticement. You’re trying to persuade a reporter to cover your event or topic, and you should only offer “this unique opportunity” to one reporter (they’re often drawn to exclusives).
- And just to round it out, an advisory is information about something, such as an invitation to an event or general information like when financial performance results will be shared. Advisories usually aren’t meant for publication, and if the information is sensitive, make clear that it’s not for publication.
Why Verbatim Publishing Isn’t Journalism
Publishing a press release verbatim is not journalism, it’s public relations, especially if you’re making no attempt to validate the information. You’re giving the organization free advertising.
Some places have a “press releases” section or a category header that makes it clear this is a press release. I don’t think that’s enough, as readers don’t differentiate. Here’s how we do it:
- Only run them if they contain useful information, not if they’re purely promotional
- Remove emotional language (“XYZ Widgets is thrilled to announce that Sandra Smith has been named CEO” becomes “XYZ Widgets announced that Sandra Smith has been named CEO”
- Remove laudatory language (ie, “Sandra Smith brings an incredible wealth of experience, having worked in the widgets business for 20 years” becomes “Smith has worked in the widgets business for 20 years”)
- Attribute:”XYZ Widgets announced in a press release that Sandra Smith has been named CEO”
- Attribute quotes: “Sandra is the perfect choice to lead XYZ Widgets into the future,” says board chair Ted Williams becomes “Sandra Smith is the perfect choice to lead XYZ Widgets into the future,” board chair Ted Williams said in a statement.
- Edit for style. Ie, say become sad, fix any other AP errors etc.
It really only takes a few minutes to make these edits in most cases.
In today’s digital landscape, leveraging press releases remains a powerful tool to amplify brand awareness, boost SEO, and unlock numerous benefits when wielded strategically.
Seeking assistance with crafting or disseminating your press releases?