Press Releases As Part of Your Inbound Marketing

Is the Press Release Worth Your Inbound Marketing Time and Money?

By Brianne Carlon RushDec 7 /2021

Every few years, we ask ourselves, as inbound marketers, do press releases still deserve a place within our efforts? For many clients, including ourselves, we have used press releases as one of the many ways to build visibility for campaigns. But is it still worth the time (several hours) and cost (a few hundred to a few thousand dollars)? And what is the actual ROI?

Here we take an updated look at the use of press releases as a part of your inbound marketing strategy.

The Value of the Press Release

For many years, businesses, public relations departments and SEO gurus were sending out press releases for three main reasons:

  1. Announce information, such as launching a product, meeting a milestone or kicking off a tour, to their audience, as well as the media —the original objective of press releases
  2. Create good press and brand exposure by placing a spotlight on news or deeds
  3. Build backlinks by including embedded links to the business’ website in the press release to boost SEO

While the first two reasons certainly still have the potential to garner results in a public relations setting, the third goal has come under scrutiny with Google.

During a Google office hours hangout call, John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst, said:

​​“...we try to ignore links from things like press releases because we know in general companies put the press releases out themselves. So any links in there are essentially placed by themselves...I just wouldn’t rely on... press releases as a strategy for building up links for a website because, like I said, we do ignore most of those.”

Does the Press Release Provide SEO Value?

The short answer is, maybe.

Like all other content formats, press releases can earn you brand awareness, engagement and earned media if it is high-quality content created with the intent of providing the reader something worthwhile.

Breaking this down further, putting out press releases to toot your company’s horn will do no good. But if you put out a press release to announce a service or results that will be helpful to your leads, prospects and/or customers, it may pique their interest enough to learn more.

Additionally, Cision found that in 2020 journalists still prefer press releases as a top method for finding new stories. If your content is created with serving your audience in mind — and the topic is timely — your press release could earn you media coverage on numerous channels, including television, radio, podcasts and even websites… all enhancing your brand awareness, and potentially even enhancing your SEO efforts.

Content is the Real Value of a Press Release

While building links using press releases has some (albeit, fading) value, the real worth lies in writing content and sharing information your audience will find useful. This can be in any format, including blogs, online articles or even press releases. So start by writing for your audience then distributing that content on channels that make sense.

If you choose to distribute a press release, you should go back to its original purpose: announcing useful information to your audience and, yes, the media, too. This means your information should be helpful, timely and relevant, as always. To obtain maximum results from your press release, you should aim to have it picked up (beyond press release sites) by media outlets or respected industry news sites — these are great backlinks and will help spread your information even further and to the right audience.

To accomplish this goal with any type of content, here are a few top tips:

  • Write about what interests your potential buyers
  • Use language your audience uses and searches for
  • Use specific keywords (including your company name if applicable) in the headline while keeping the title concise and intriguing
  • Use important keyword phrases in your first paragraph and add a relevant hyperlink when possible; do not let your first sentence ramble
  • Use long-tail keywords relevant to your service and industry (use a free tool like Google Adwords Search Keyword Tool); do not embed the same phrase more than once
  • Develop a loyal readership and offer simple ways for readers to share via social media

Are Press Releases Worth It?

If you ask me, “Are press releases worth my time and money?” My answer is still, “Yes — with the proper content and effort.” Tell the stories that matter to your audience, then use press releases to spread the word.

A good press release is good content. And when online buyers and media alike get a hold of information they find useful or entertaining, you will get more backlinks than you ever asked for.

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The Author

Brianne Carlon Rush

Brianne works with Fortune 500 clients to strategize digital marketing efforts that help sales teams close deals faster. Additionally, she focuses on Kuno’s sales and marketing alignment and employee empowerment. Prior to Kuno, Brianne helped market OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, and was the youngest person to be promoted to managing editor position at MacFadden Performing Arts Media in NYC.