There was a day when the press release did a lot of the work in generating actual media coverage for a firm announcing a new product, acquisition, award or some other newsworthy milestone.
Today a great deal of this kind of news is either delivered directly to audiences through social channels or carried by a PR professional as part of a broader pitch for coverage or advocacy.
The humble press release, however, is not a relic of the past. The press release still performs a very valuable function in the online world that requires the constant care, feeding and gathering of keyword rich content, social signals and links.
Publishing a consistent stream of press releases as a tool to announce and distribute news is a proven lead generation tactic right now.
Below are the five elements required to view and implement this tactic as a systematic process in your overall lead generation plan.
Commit to publishing at least once a week. You don’t need earth-shattering news to create an announcement of update. Think about things like milestones, new hires, new products, new eBooks, awards, new clients, or new certifications. Focus on things you would like your clients to know about.
Write each release on one page using standard press release format. I’ve created a free press release tool that walks you though the process of writing a press release. It does all the formatting once you fill in the blanks.
Once you create a press release you’ll want to get it distributed to various news and media outlets. By using a distribution service you do run some chance of garnering some media coverage, but the primary purpose of this step is online distribution. If you have a local media list you may want to submit your releases to local journalists, Chambers, industry newsletters and even your alumni newsletters.
Below are a number of choices for distribution ranging from free to full service. As you might guess, you get more options when you pay, but you can still get some coverage from free and low cost options. Most small businesses can get by with a Submit Press Release 123 or PRWeb.
- Free – Online PR News, PR Inside
- Low Cost – SubmitPressRelease 123
- Good Value – PRWeb
- Upper End – PRNewswire, BusinessWire
Once you commit to a steady stream of releases you should house them on your website as a newsroom or use a tool like Submit 123 or PRWeb’s newsroom options so you start to build a library of keyword rich news releases, media coverage and related content.
If you use a newsroom service or a content tool like WordPress you can also create an RSS feed for your news stream allowing others to subscribe or republish the content on various pages and sites you own.
Make sure that all of your press releases contain ways for people to connect and share in the most common social networks and social bookmarking sites. Use your Twitter, Google+. Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, Reddit and StumbleUpon accounts to amplify each press release.
By posting news to these sites you’ll garner even more readership and links as people republish and share for various reasons.
Make sure that you add your newsroom to your Google Analytics or other tracking tool routine. When you do this you can start to test and track various distribution services, produce link reports and monitor which social sites are sending you the best traffic.
This is one of those long-term, slow and steady tactics, but if you commit to it and stick to it, you’ll find the local, social, SEO and traffic benefits to be significant.