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Should Press Releases Be Part of Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

By Dave GrendzynskiMay 8 /2018

 It always seems like when I write a post for Kuno Creative, I start reflecting on the good old days—like five or 10 years ago. Those were the days when you’d put together a digital marketing strategy that revolved around blogs and emails, and the term SEO wasn’t as prominent as it is now. That was also the time when digital marketing strategies started including fewer press releases.

Press releases used to be a critical part of every marketing strategy. The “release” is what helped make your audience aware of your new product or service, or how you would “pitch” it. You would send one out because you had news to share. It would include things like:

  • vital information
  • quotes
  • people to contact

It was a fast, easy way to hook your audience and get them talking about your product or company. But as inbound marketing grew, so did the current inbound marketing strategies we use today, and press releases seemed to fall out of favor.

These days writing a press release can be an afterthought when you’re putting together a digital marketing strategy. But it shouldn’t be. Here are some reasons why they should still be considered an important part of your plan.

Press Releases Are Free

The best things in life are free, right? So are press releases. That’s why they should at least be considered  your digital marketing strategy.

They used to cost you money. You had to buy the paper to print it on, have a printer (and ink) to print it out, and stamps and envelopes to mail them out. But not anymore.

Your press release can become a part of your email campaign. All it is going to cost you is a little bit of time to put it together. You will have to build a list of emails to send it to, and spend some time writing it, but the cost to put it out? Nothing.

To make the process even easier, use your automated email platform. Yes, the same one you’re using to connect with customers. An automated email can save you a lot of time and frustration and make it easier to follow up on the press releases you put out. It’s an essential part of online marketing because using an automated email platform allows you to:

  • segment journalists into lists based on factors like area of reporting.
  • decide what time is best to send a release.
  • see who opens your email and track your results.

Isn’t technology great? You can track in real time who is showing interest in your release. It’s like having a search engine built into your marketing activities (except you don’t have to do the searching, it’s already done for you).


Squeeze Out Some SEO

Speaking of search engines, in these days of digital advertising, you have to think about optimizing your press release, too.

If you’re putting out a press release, you should include some backlinks. Backlinks in press releases don’t directly impact SEO, per se, but that doesn’t mean you should eliminate the idea from your digital marketing strategy.

Why? Because if you have a great topic that is picked up by an established publication, you can reach lots of people. Use this as an opportunity to link to a case study or a video on your company’s site that helps get your point across.

If you earn media coverage, that story will most likely live on the website of the media outlet. This is important because the published article should contain links to your company’s website. And since these links are coming from trustworthy sources (like a news organization), they are considered to be high quality. Earning high-quality links through press release SEO can help improve your website’s rankings.

Even if only one outlet picks up your story, it’s worth it.

You Control the Message

One of the biggest advantages of putting out a press release is that you control the message. You’ll decide things like:

  • who will provide quotes.
  • what product information is most vital.
  • how long or short it will be.

Your quotes should explain the impact your company or product is going to have on your audience. Or use them to provide a call to action. And make sure you’re providing valuable background information.  Since you’re controlling the message, make the information work for you.

Reach a Large or Targeted Audience

Since your press release will be part of your email marketing plan, you can either cast a wide net or target who you’re going to send it to.

It may depend on your goal. Are you trying to drum up new business? Attempting to make people (or businesses) aware of your new product or service? Or looking for some coverage from a media outlet?

You may find it hard to believe, but researchers at Wylie communications found journalists still  rely on releases. They cited a 2014 Business Wire Media Survey that found 70% of respondents noting their jobs would be harder without press releases. And 88% in a Greentarget study said they found releases at least somewhat valuable.

These journalists use releases for reference to check things like spelling of names, job titles and other facts.Sometimes they’ll even turn to releases for quotes. Newsrooms are getting smaller, and reporters are being asked to do more with less. Press releases can be a time-saving tool for these understaffed organizations.

Whether it’s a reporter or the CEO of another company, what’s great is you can tailor the release to each of the audiences you’re trying to reach. It’s up to you. The key to writing the perfect pitch is to include key elements.  Things like:

  • An understanding of your audience
  • The hook
  • A great story

Paying attention to the details will pay off.

Use Social Networks

Social media is a part of every digital marketing strategy. Take advantage of all your social networks when you’re sending out press releases. Some of the people you’re trying to reach may be more accessible via Facebook Messenger or direct message on Twitter.

Digital media outlets are growing. More and more newsrooms are beginning to prefer digital channels over traditional forms of communication. Include your press release in your social media marketing and, if you can, your mobile marketing strategies.

You have to consider all digital platforms when you’re developing marketing campaigns; press releases included.  

Pitches Can Build Trust

This leads us to the final reason a press release should be part of a digital marketing strategy—trust.  When a pitch is successful and results in coverage by a trusted third-party source, your message will stand out to buyers. In other words, brands that actively engage in media outreach will likely see a greater consumer impact at all stages of the purchase process than brands that only rely on content marketing.

Why? Because consumers trust stories written by an objective third-party source, and this brings greater value to your business than traditional advertising or promotional avenues.

In fact, a recent study by Nielsen shows that earned media — credible, third-party articles — is the most important source for influencing consumer decisions.

PressReleases

The report also found that:

  • 85 percent of consumers regularly or occasionally seek out trusted expert content – credible, third-party articles and reviews – when considering a purchase.
  • 69 percent of consumers like to read product reviews written by trusted experts before making a purchase.
  • 67 percent of consumers agree that an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider purchasing.

This is just another way a press release can have a positive impact on digital marketing activity.

According to the authors of “Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques”, 55 to 97 percent of press releases never get picked up. But sending the right message to the right audience can make a big impact for your business.

Press releases can be an important part of an all-encompassing digital marketing strategy. Our  new guide “How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy” can help you put one together. Inside you’ll learn about other ways new technology is affecting traditional methods and how to set yourself up for success.

Download How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

The Author

Dave Grendzynski

With a background in broadcast news and corporate communications, Dave blends his experience to create content for many platforms. As a news manager and producer, Dave learned what it takes to tell a good story and hit his target audience. He also helped to develop a brand and build it from the ground up. Working in Corporate Communications taught him how to share a company's story without losing sight of it's narrative. You can connect with Dave via LinkedIn.
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