Four years ago, when I worked in-house writing and editing for a smallish mixed media and search marketing company, one of our key content strategies for ourselves as well as clients, was an online press release. We used them to build buzz AND boost inbound links to client sites. It was a key SEO/SEM tactic in our then cutting-edge list of such tactics.
Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that the online press release is less and less in favor, despite its simplicity and relative ease of exposure:
- press releases are easy to get written–because they are one of those higher end content machines you can expect to pay more for a copywriter or shell out a few hundred to an online pr firm…or you can always cobble one together yourself if you have the time. If you’re going to write it yourself a word of caution: some of the more well-known online submission sites have stiff editorial guidelines and expectations. They’ll reject it in a skinny minute if it violates TOS — sounds too much like an ad– or is just plain lousy.
- they are a relatively easy to submit online
- dozens of online pr submission sites invite releases from FREE to many hundreds of dollars depending upon number of links and type of content.
I can still turn up press releases in online search for this now defunct company I worked for– we used them ourselves as a key strategy for building brand and market buzz, besides their usefulness as SEO levers.
Who IS Using Press Releases?
But the PR on press releases has been skewed in the last few years precisely due to the fact that their usefulness IS divided into 2 distinctly separate camps:
- the PR folks — and they’ve gone totally social media
- the SEO and marketing people (who might also include guerrilla marketers who will do any and all of it to generate buzz, brand, links, story, PR, debate, controversy, you name it…).
Illustrating the range of the “marketing”-driven press release consider the way StomperNet used a press release a few months back to herald a massive shift in their leadership:
They used the “press release” for a blog post– like this:
but they also sent it out to their email subscribers in the body of an email and Andy Jenkins posted it on his blog, as well. Of course a zillion internet marketing groupies “picked it up.” But did it actually make it to any of the traditional online news release sites, or was this a primo way to make a big announcement look more official and link-worthy?
I say it was a brilliant bit of linkbait if ever I saw one…
Ironically here’s a story posted on MarketingCharts.com almost one year ago, News Releases Not Just For Press, and based on a then current survey that showed — not surprisingly here, — that many SEO/SEM firms and marketers use the reliable online news release as SEO strategy as opposed to a traditional “press” release intended to appeal to journalists and the like. Apparently this was like new news or something (?). Does it really take a couple of years in Internet time to get results like this on a survey of “current” marketing techniques that for many are already …. old standards?
This former article juxtaposed with this most recent, Less Than Half of PR People Deem Press Releases ‘Useful’, serves to illustrate the press release great divide.
Reason Why You Might Consider Using Press Releases
1. Because these guys all say so:
2. Because few others are really taking advantage of these content tools to build links, site appeal, brand, news, reputation…
3. And because they remain a proven method for creating natural links back to your site or blog.