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The press release is dead! So why are we still writing them? The truth is there is still marginal value in writing a press release, but it’s mostly in solidifying messaging or as an asset for the website to show client wins or expertise in an area. Once we start talking about distributing a press release, we have to be careful.
Our team leverages three main pay per distribution sites: PR Newswire, BusinessWire, and PRWeb. When and how you use these depends on your objectives.
In our experience, a standard release can range from $1200 - 2500 on PR Newswire, $800 – 1500 on BusinessWire, and $200-360 on PRWeb.
The reason for sending out a press release these days is usually two-fold:
1. Directly Inform Journalists – This was the original purpose of the press release: get news into the hands of journalists who need to distribute it to the public. For most clients, this is still the main goal. There’s an assumption that if you put out a release, a ton of journalists are going to read it. For the most part this use of the press release is dead.
We find that we have more success generating a story by focusing on a set of reporters and pitching the story based on their beat and area of coverage. Most journalists aren’t using the wires as a primary area for sources anymore. A one-to-one connection is much more successful.
That being said, there are still many people who scan the wires, in addition to their daily scan of blogs and other pitches, so that can be a good outlet for reaching journalists. The caution in this is that you need to have big news, interesting data, or something that is really newsworthy. If you don’t then it’s a waste of time. So with big news in hand and looking to generate a story we recommend using BusinessWire or PR Newswire. Anecdotally those feed appear to be the most viewed by journalists and generate the most results. They’re more expensive, but if you got big news, it’s worth it to get it out.
2. Capture Search Traffic – With the rise of search engines, the other goal we see is the need to appear positively in the search results and potentially grab journalists searching for relevant sources.
How many potential clients Google your company before choosing to make a phone call or move forward with business? A recent partnership, client win, even an announcement on a recent thought pieces can drive that business. You should be touting your recent wins and innovation in the search results. Press releases can help build this appearance particularly in the Google News area. Google Alerts are playing a particularly important part in this.
We had one client who partnered with a major retailer to launch their eCommerce system. The release was indexed by Google News, which now helps with their credibility, but beyond that goes out via Google Alert to all the people who have this service set up for certain terms. Many people had that large retailer in their Google alerts. The result was a cold call from a journalist in the retail industry who didn’t care about the story but was working on a related topic. More importantly a couple clients directly called the company. “Oh you did work for so and so? Maybe we should talk more.” It was a great success generated from a $200 posting.
In addition, the inbound links of every release positively affect your website. Each press release is another page pointing to your site and working to increase the page rank and overall relevancy of your website.
And finally as Ken noted in his post on the relationship between SEO and PR, journalists are searching online for sources. It never hurts to have some additional content out there pointing back to your expertise in a particular area.
If you are merely trying to get a presence out there on the internet there’s no reason to pay the large dollar amounts of the bigger distribution services. Pay your $200-360 and just establish that online space.