Much of the discussion about press releases lately has centered on the role they (may or may not) play in influencing search results, and Google’s new guidelines for links within press releases. Over the weekend, PR Newswire made an important change to our feed, implementing no-follow links in all press releases distributed to third-party web sites. Put more simply, the links in the content we syndicate across thousands of web site are in compliance with Google’s guidelines.
As we’ve discussed previously, this change doesn’t affect how press releases will be found, read and shared online. They will still be indexed by search engines, and readers will still be able to click on the links you embed in your messages.
With all the focus on links lately, it’s important to not lose sight of all the other reasons to send out a press release. Here are our top 10!
Top 10 Reasons to Send Out a News Release
10. Archive. News releases get saved, stored, archived and become a kind of official record on where you’ve been, what you’ve done and what happened when. The archive may vary in length – on Yahoo Finance, press releases are archived for six months, while Lexis/Nexis has PR Newswire releases dating back to 1980. If you have a MediaRoom or some other type of online newsroom, your archive updates every time you send out an announcement. It’s like a Facebook timeline for companies and organizations, but it’s been around so much longer.
9. Expertise. The news release can help you establish yourself and your organization as a and expert source or authority about topics that are central to your business. Many of our clients use press releases to offer their official responses or reactions to marketplace developments, commenting on legislative developments and other news events. Other clients use press releases to promote thought leadership content, such as surveys, infographics and white papers. With the proper news release distribution, including search, social and syndication, your content becomes co-mingled with other content on the topic and your organization becomes a participant in the conversation.
8. Mobile. This is an increasingly important part of every organization’s communications because mobile is assuming a larger and larger role in how we all access news and information. According to the 2013 Internet Trends Report issued by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, mobile internet usage has been growing by 1.5x each year, and will continue on that trajectory. Mobile readership of news releases is keeping pace with this growth – PR Newswire’s mobile site, m.prnewswire.com, has logged an increase of almost 100% over the prior year.
7. Social. A quick search on Twitter illustrates the popularity of press releases – PR Newswire content is tweeted multiple times per minute. As a result, the news release is an effective anchor from which to create more awareness and to reach new audiences for your messaging. Use the news release as the landing page and issue a few days’ worth of tweets or status updates. You can drive traffic to your release and at the same time use the release to provide a depth of information beyond the short-format social media message.
6. Multimedia. It’s been pretty well documented how much more attentionyou get when you use imagery and video messaging. News releases with multimedia are viewed more than those without. You can also turn that around and say multimedia assets with news releases are viewed more than those without. Whether you use a full, branded Multimedia News Release or simply add a multimedia asset to your document, the news release becomes a vehicle for the distribution of the images and video clips and provides the context for the visuals.
5. Targeting. News release distribution is generally perceived of as a blast/send sort of method. In fact, PR Newswire distribution is actually pretty finely targeted based upon a combination of tagging, taxonomies and filters that are in common use. This usually happens in one of two ways. News organizations and journalists arrange feeds that are based upon their coverage interests or individual media users access the releases through platforms that allow them to filter based on their needs. The results? Broad reach, even to narrow niches.
4. Placement. The syndication of news releases by the commercial news release distribution services has given companies and organizations the opportunity to be publishers, to have their content placed on both widely trafficked news sites as well as long-tail specialty sites. And by using these syndication networks the content is published in its entirety and as it was originally written. At PR Newswire the online network includes more than 9,000 sites worldwide. That dwarfs the size of many other types of online syndication services and at a much lower price point.
3. Discovery. The acuity of search engines and the tribal nature of many social platforms have made it easier than ever for individuals to do granular research and find specific information. It’s no wonder, then, that the volume traffic that comes to news releases on PR Newswire’s web site based upon appearing in search results (on Google and other search engines) is consistently significant. Seeding search engines and social networks with press releases is one more way to make your brand and message more easily discovered.
2. Authority. For your company or organization you are THE SOURCE. You’ve got the inside information, you’ve got the scoops and you’ve got the last word – but only if you use it. And the news release is the vehicle to do that, conveying your organization’s point of view, unedited, clearly and credibly to your constituents.
1. Pick-up. Let’s not forget that news releases still go to journalists, and journalists read them. PR Newswire for Journalists, a private news site for credentialed media and bloggers, has more than 30,000 active users on average each month. In addition to PRNJ, journalists can access press releases right in their newsroom systems, their inboxes and in many cases they set up one type of custom feed or another to make sure they see the releases that are relevant to them. So when you send out a news release you could get coverage. You could be in a newspaper with tens of thousands of readers, a TV station with hundreds of thousands of viewers or on a news Web site with millions of visitors. Earned media carries powerful exposure and credibility, and press releases still provide important entrée to newsrooms worldwide.
So next time you draft a press release, spend a few extra minutes contemplating the variety of channels on which it will be seen. There’s far more to press release visibility than search engines. It’s the distribution of the message to various audience that ultimately powers real discovery.