by Rachel Cool | Featured Contributor
Press releases have gone beyond their traditional use of landing media coverage and are used widely in internet marketing, search engine optimization and content marketing. But, even though press releases have taken on new roles, they are most effective when they are true to their roots.
The Original Press Release
Originally, public relations professionals used press releases to inform journalists and broadcasters about potential stories. They were packed with news, quotes, pictures and information about the business and included contact information for a media representative.
Press releases were sent directly to journalists and weren’t published online. In fact, in many cases they were purely a public relations tactic and weren’t used as part of any kind of marketing plan.
Staying True to their Roots
There are some aspects of the original news release that should translate into the new version of press releases being used as part of online marketing plans.
Have a Newsworthy Angle
Press releases should always have a news angle. There should be something about the information you are sharing that is new or that incorporates a fresh approach. The whole idea behind a press release is that it is an announcement or informs your market about something they don’t already know.
Include Multi-Media Elements
Old-school press releases often include quotes and pictures, things today’s releases should also have. But, you can take things up a notch by adding infographics, videos, b-roll, links to interactive resources, links to social media accounts and other more engaging types of content.
Send Press Releases to Thought Leaders
Press releases should still be sent to news outlets so you can get media coverage. But, you can also use them to get coverage from influential bloggers, popular websites in your industry and online news outlets.
Refreshing the Press Release for your Business
While press releases should be used to get media coverage, you can also use them in other ways to increase brand awareness and play a bigger part in your online marketing efforts.
Create an Online Newsroom
Post your press release to your website through an online newsroom or your blog so you can own your story and make your site a resource for media members and your market. Be sure to promote it through social media, email marketing and other channels to draw attention to it.
Use them to Build Links
Press releases can be used to support your SEO campaigns, but should always be newsworthy and include high-quality content. Link strategic keywords back to your website and use things like headings and meta tags and descriptions to boost your search rankings.
Drive Traffic to your Site
By sharing your press release on social media, landing coverage on other sites and building links to get search rankings, you can drive traffic to your site. A good way to do this is to direct people to your website for more information and make it easy for people to find you by including links in the call to action.
Press releases are still used as a public relations tactic to gain media coverage, but they have been reinvented and have become a great tool for online marketing, SEO and content marketing. By staying true to their roots, you can use press releases to build your online brand and reach your market.
Rachel Cool has a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has experience working in public relations, journalism, Internet marketing and search engine optimization. She is a freelance writer and editor and teaches public relations writing and production at Brigham Young University.
Rachel’s passion is writing and she loves helping brands tell their stories, reach their markets and influence their audiences. She feels that a business’ copy, whether it is online or print, is an integral part of its marketing and communications strategies.
When she’s not writing, Rachel loves to cook and get lost in a mystery novel. She also likes to get competitive over a good card or board game, watch movies, fish and spend time outside.