What do you know about press releases? Are they still relevant to your marketing mix? Is your SEO professional using them as part of your strategy?
With the rapidly changing SEO climate, one thing is for sure; Press releases haven’t been part of a traditional SEO’s toolkit for some time. If they are, it’s time to look at how to use them in a positive way, the way they were meant to be used.
As Link Building
The consensus amongst the SEO community, is that using a press release to gather links is a bad idea, and has been for some time. When you look at a websites link profile and it contains an inordinate amount of links from ‘free article’ and ‘PR’ websites, it immediately tells you that some quick and easy SEO has been performed. These days we’re called upon to remove these links, so it’s no wonder that PR pieces have fallen out of favour, especially when you consider Google’s biggest updates Penguin and Panda targeting low quality content.
What about when you actually have breaking news? A new product to launch, a prestigious hire, corporate take-overs or a new flavour smoothie? Well, then a press release as part of your overall marketing mix can be beneficial, especially if the placement is smart. Don’t think about SEO as a main feature of the press release, and concentrate on getting your key message out to those that matter. Don’t look at a press release as a link building opportunity and it can still bring a great level of awareness to your brand and business.
VS. Social Media
We don’t have to tell you that social media has taken over traditional media as a means to get a short, targeted message across. If your company doesn’t have some toes in social media then you are most likely missing out on building a relationship with your target market. While press releases are more informative and formal, a social media update is something that can be drafted on the run. It can still have all the same information, just in bite sized amounts.
If you have big news that can act as a news item for the mainstream media, then have your press release drafted, sans anchor text links, and make sure you also plan your social media messages to align with what your press release is talking about.
Do I Even Need Press Releases?
Look at it this way, are you tired of the so called news that you see online and in the paper (should you be one of the 6 people still buying them..)? Then use this as your yardstick when deciding to spread your news. Make sure it’s solving a problem, is something your customers have been looking forward to (after you’ve built your buzz) or something that could change an industry.
How Do I Distribute Them?
Sites such as ‘Handle Your Own PR’ and ‘Sourcebottle’ are great starting points. With the former, you can purchase credits that give you access to press lists containing journalist’s contact details. Choose your industry and potentially have access to a list of contacts for journalists in that field. I say potentially because it’s not guaranteed that the lists are current, nor correct – you might find that some of the details are for the junior or receptionist. Sourcebottle is a reverse PR website, whereby the journalists and bloggers are the ones fishing for sources. Find one that fits your product or industry, and be their expert.