The surprising things you will — and won’t get with news releases

August 21, 2011

by Gail Kent

hampton roads publicists

One of the main purposes of press releases is to increase your Web site's SEO.

One of the great things you can do with your stories — at least the very best ones — is to get media attention. Often we get inquiries about sending out news releases for businesses with the expectation that they will result in feature stories in local or even national media.

There are pricey PR services that provide media lists of thousands of journalists’ email addresses, allowing you to automatically create databases with hundreds — or even thousands — of names and addresses in a particular niche. With a few clicks, it is possible to send a release to all of them in a short period of time. There are also both free and pricey press release distribution services that will send out your release to tens of thousands of journalists across the country (or world — depending on your budget) and Web sites across the Internet.

One might think with all of those journalists emailed and all the money spent contacting them that surely your release is headed straight for the front pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times or the ABC Nightly News, right?

Wrong.

There was a time when the media relied on news releases for leads, but that is not often true any longer. Reporters get literally hundreds of news releases daily, and they can’t even read them all, much less write stories about all of them. When trying to get media attention, the best bet is to pick up the phone or send a short, intriguing media pitch targeted to a specific reporter — preferably one with whom you have cultivated a relationship.

If the reporter is interested in the story, he or she will get back to you for more details … or, more likely, you’ll follow up several times before you find out if the reporter is interested and then provide more details. (How to pitch a story will be a future newsletter topic.)

So does that mean there is no longer a role for news releases? Not at all!

The role for news releases today is just as important, but very different from pre-Internet days.

The number one reason for press releases today is to generate tons of traffic to your Web site by building inbound links into news releases and then distributing them using reputable online services such as PRWeb, eReleases, PRNewswire and Businesswire. The press releases show up on hundreds of Web sites where readers can get your news first-hand and follow links back to your site. In the era of the Web, businesses can thus bypass the traditional media gatekeepers of yesteryear and take their news directly to the consumer.

In addition to the benefit of building their own readership, news releases with inbound links automatically increase SEO for your site, bumping it up in search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo, often to the first page for relevant keywords that you have carefully selected and reinforced as anchor text in the news release. The best distribution services leave your release online permanently, providing links that positively affect your site forever, though the benefit of that “Google juice” will gradually drop in rank unless you periodically send out new releases or do some other tactic to positively affect your SEO ranking.

The next most likely benefit from online news releases is that bloggers may decide to write about your news if the topic interests them. From there — depending on the story — it’s sometimes easier to then use the online attention to leverage traditional media, completing the circle back to the news release’s original purpose.

While one news release will produce results, the best results can be obtained with an ongoing program of distributing regular news releases, at least on a quarterly basis.

If you would like to explore the possibility of using media releases as a strategy to build traffic to your Web site contact us. We can discuss the best strategy for both building traffic and gaining media exposure. Email us at info@thebuzzfactoree.com or call 757-930-0032.

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