The advantages of writing a press release for your online business extend well beyond creating a spike in site traffic or supplementing your SEO efforts. A well-crafted press release given to a press release distribution service is a multimedia marketing tool, sales letter, brand validator and relationship builder. The benefits of PR are significant over both the short and long-term, so let’s focus in on how and why PR for your online business is an essential part of any sales and marketing program.
Five Reasons Why Press Releases are Important in the Short-Term
1. Cost Effective: Free Press Release Distribution is a Matter of Time
With any online business the instinctual move is to cast as wide a net as possible; national distribution, all the big names! You can pay a distribution service to cast that net for you but if you want to save money and build relationships, consider the benefits of distributing PR yourself. You’ll have to do the research, reach out to journalists, and follow-up the way you would with any sales lead but by distributing PR organically you’ll establish a direct line to decision makers that no distribution service can match. The first press release will cost you time. Every subsequent press release will save you money.
2. Press Releases Offer a Mix of Online Media Sources
The primary purpose of a press release is to attract the attention of your target audience. As an online business owner, your target audience most likely encompasses a wide customer demographic, all of whom consume media across a variety of different platforms. Fortunately, you don’t have to customize your press release to fit specific channels. Press releases follow a set formula and tone. Whether your target audience finds you via blogs, news sites or a simple keyword search the message will be the same. PR is PR.
3. Use Your Press Release to Target Specific Geographic Audiences
Type just about any keyword into Google; restaurants, plumbers, computer repair and the next two words to auto-populate will be near me. The internet has neighborhoods and distributing PR within those neighborhoods can be hugely beneficial to your online business. Use your site analytics to formulate a geo-targeted distribution plan. Where are the majority of your visitors coming from? Where, geographically speaking, are you weakest? In the weaker areas what geo-targeted distribution channels are available? You have all the information you need to begin planning your regional PR distribution efforts.
4. Supplement Your Marketing Efforts Minus the Quid Pro Quo
What is a press release in marketing terms? It’s access to multiple distribution channels minus the system of cash or quid pro quo. Want to boost a post? That’ll cost you. Want access to an email list? You’d better have data to share. A press release for your online business is a marketing and branding tool disguised as a piece of journalism. The media outlets you’ll be approaching view press releases as content not advertising. They need newsworthy PR in order to fulfill their content strategy. It’s a mutually beneficial trade. Remember that when you start making calls.
5. Attract Unique Site Visitors and Increase Sales
Increased site traffic + sales is an obvious benefit of PR but it’s the uniqueness of the audience it attracts that is most important. Organic search requires user participation. PPC ads are often ignored. Social media is a sometimes distraction for a lot of account holders. The journalistic nature of press releases plus their multimedia, geo-targeted distribution allows you to reach a base of potential customers who never would have found you via your existing sales and marketing strategy.
Five Reasons Why Press Releases are Important in the Long-Run
1. Earn Brand Credibility and Validation
Brand credibility is another benefit of PR that can be attributed to its journalistic nature. When people read a press release they don’t feel like they are being sold a product or service. Your press release will never make it out of a journalist’s inbox if it doesn’t feel newsworthy. What people are going to see when they read your press release is an industry leading company that has earned the respect of a news source that they trust. It’s brand recognition but more importantly it’s brand validation.
2. Brand Yourself as an Industry Expert
If you wanted to find thought leaders in a particular industry, you’d most likely start with reputable news sources. When you distribute PR for your online business you’re putting yourself out there as a top tier contact. It’s your name at the top of the press release. It’s your name readers will associate with that particular newsworthy item. More than 90% of online businesses fail within the first 120 days. If you want to build brand loyalty and repeat business, your potential customers need to trust that you’ll be around in six months or a year. By establishing yourself as an industry insider via trusted news sources you’re telling people: this isn’t an experiment for us, we’re settled, we’re here to stay.
3. Build Solid Relationships with Journalists
Speaking of trust and validation, having a direct connection to journalists is a very powerful sales and marketing tool. Many journalists receive more than a hundred press releases per day and typically spend less than a minute determining their journalistic worth. An unknown name attached to an unknown company is easy to overlook, a call or an email from an established contact is not. Making those connections takes time but in the long-run the potential benefits are clear; easier future distribution, journalists know other journalists, journalists know other business leaders—it’s groundwork worth doing.
4. Attract Influencers and Affiliate Marketers
PR for your online business can help you attract the attention of potential business and marketing partners. Both influencers and affiliate marketers are constantly looking for new revenue streams. If you go looking for them, you’ll be negotiating rates and percentages from a place of need. If they track you down because a press release alerted them to your company’s position as an industry leader the opposite is true. It always costs less when you’re the one being courted.
5. Supplement your SEO Efforts
Print will be a factor but the majority of the distribution for your press release will be via online media outlets. That means you’ll need to play the algorithm game. Set an SEO strategy before you start writing. The purpose of your press release may be time sensitive but the branding and validation it creates are not. PR found via organic search will continue to yield results for your company over the long term.
Now that you’re familiar with the advantages of writing a press release for your online business, it’s time to plan your distribution strategy. As you map out your wish list of journalists and news sources consider both the short and long-term benefits of PR. Which outlets are best suited for brand recognition and thought-leadership? Which outlets will best target the geographic areas where your business is weakest. In terms of quick hit traffic and visibility, is it worth paying a distribution service as a supplement to your outreach efforts? PR for your online business is most beneficial when it’s included in an overall sales and marketing strategy. So, what’s your strategy?