If you run a small business, you most likely don’t have huge marketing resources. In such a situation, self publishing an online PR will allow you to get your news out as soon as something breaks. Although a single press release won’t deliver the same extensive coverage as a sustained search marketing campaign, it can be a strategic and effective launch pad for better online brand awareness.
Press releases can really boost both search engine visibility and SEO results, so when something newsworthy happens, it’s worth putting finger to keyword or asking your search engine optimization agency to do the write up for you. One of the benefits of having a website optimization specialist or trained online copywriter do the writing is that they will know what to include to get maximum mileage out of the resource. This is probably the best route if you have a big story and little previous experience, but for everyday news, you can create and distribute the release yourself for much of the same impact.
An online press release is a great way to tell people about awards your firm has won, sales promotions, special offers, or to announce the launch of new products. It’s also a quick route to search engine visibility when correctly distributed. Increasingly, we are seeing self published news on major internet news portals including Google News. These stories are often pulled from PR distribution channels, citizen journalists, or social media sources. It’s therefore vital that an online PR is sent out to the right recipients at the right time. To get this right, plan your distribution day and time before you even start to write. You must think about the interruption of weekends and public holidays, other national and local events as well as lead times for some websites and publications. The last thing you’ll want to see after you have spent hours writing a carefully constructed, search engine optimized PR is a poor pick up rate due to avoidable clashes with other stories.
Likewise, if you know a particular period of the year, month, or weekend is traditionally big in your industry, be sure to have a story created in time and ready for distribution at least three or four days prior to when you expect the peak of interest to hit. Check industry journals, last year’s sales figures, and keep an eye on competitor websites to get an idea of when you’re most likely to need to see an increase in interest.
Any social media distribution of an online PR will also require a preexisting account with the site in question, so should be organized beforehand. Experience shows that existing social media accounts with an established interest base are best placed for PR distribution so it’s wise to start drip feeding information to target sites early in order to prime the audience for a more significant release later.
If an online PR is something you’re doing as a short term solution to a lack of internet visibility, focus your efforts on just a handful of social media sites. Don’t fall in to the trap of trying to maintain a presence on every social media site you come across just in case you have a news story to release at some point in the future. This is like trying to paint a whole house with a single can of paint – focus on a specific area and be consistent with updates for the best results.
Test which outlets are best for your industry or product by keeping abreast of news stories on Google News. Simply visit the news tab and type in a keyword or two. Look at the media source rather than the story itself to build a list of distribution sites harvested for your particular section of the economy. Good general outlets to try with a regular presence in Google News include I-Newswire.com, BigNews.biz, Click Press, Open Press and PR Web. For free distribution you could also try PR-USA, Pr-Inside.com and Live-PR.com.
3. Dealing With The Media
Dealing with the logistics of issuing an online PR as well as building up an enviable contact list of editors and journalists online can be time consuming and requires a certain level of media or PR experience. If you decide to outsource this aspect of your campaign to a professional make sure you ask for samples of previous PRs first, check that amendments are permitted to the text at no cost before approval, and inquire as to what tracking facilities are available.
If you decide to go it alone, you’ll need to dedicate a day or two to identifying relevant outlets and finding out the correct contact details at that website or publication. You can look on the website or better yet, call the outlet directly if possible. Ask to be put through to the newsroom, explain that you’re calling from X company and have a news story about X to email over and would like to know who the best person to send the information to would be. Get an email address, name and contact telephone number, and keep in a spreadsheet for future reference.