Online press releases? Aren't those just for BIG businesses or brands? Not anymore! A lot of business owners dismiss online press release distribution since they already have other forms of marketing in place – social media, blogging, face-to-face marketing, etc…
But writing and distributing PRs should be a key component in any small business's marketing toolkit. Press releases open the door to numerous benefits that traditional forms of promotion are unable to offer. Overlooking them can cost your business more than you might think!
There are the obvious reasons why online press releases pack a powerful punch: huge SEO advangtages, boost traffic to your website or blog and garner media attention.
Today, I'm going to share five unique advantages that press releases provide small businesses and shed some light on why I love using them in my marketing campaigns. Each reason alone offers a compelling reason to add PR distribution to your current marketing strategy. Together, they demonstrate the reason many savvy business owners focus a large portion of their efforts refining this method of promotion.
#1 – News Angles And Stories Are Timely
You can use press releases to leverage current news items and stories to promote your business. For example, Google+ just launched a communities section. If you are a social media manager or consultant, you can write a blog post about the subject and publish a press release announcing your ‘reaction' to this change. Not only will you position yourself immediately as an expert, you might even attract media attention from journalists looking for someone to quickly comment on the change.
The same approach can be used in any niche. One of the most successful ones that I witnessed, a tax attorney published a press release reacting to the death of Whitney Houston. In the release, they spoke about the importance of preparing your estate and what might happen with Houston's estate. They actually got a call from Entertainment Tonight asking them to comment!
With a little creativity, and an eye for interesting news items, the well of subject matter is practically limitless.
#2 – Press Releases Are Less Expensive
Marketing costs money. Even “guerilla” marketing methods that are billed as inexpensive or free carry a cost because they require time and effort. If you're running pay-per-click campaigns, online media buys, or print advertising spots, the cost can spiral into the thousands of dollars per month. Even if these marketing projects are delivering a positive return, cash flow cannot be ignored. This is especially true given that your ROI on such projects can quickly turn south.
By contrast, the cost of distributing press releases is relatively low — especially considering the payoff. Moreover, they can be written quickly, and distributed to thousands of sites within minutes. Given that most small businesses operate with limited budgets, a well-crafted PR can deliver more value per dollar than most high-cost marketing campaigns.
#3 – Marketing In A Subtle Package
When people read a sales letter, landing page, or brochure, they realize that the piece they are reading is marketing collateral. Its job is to promote a product, service, or the company itself. Some people are understandably jaded and turned off by this. Others simply ignore marketing materials and advertisements. Still others might continue reading, but do so with their mental defenses raised.
But consider how people perceive a well-written press release. They recognize that the PR comes from a business. They also recognize that there is a purpose behind the release that may not be entirely altruistic. However, they continue to read because the press release offers an interesting angle on a current news item or story. The PR is still essentially a marketing piece, but it promotes the business in a subtle manner.
If your news announcemnt is picked up by other publications and published (or if you are asked for an interview), this type of third-party endorsement is priceless!
#4 – Online Press Releases Have A Longer Shelf Life
Think of the longevity of marketing campaigns you've launched in the past. A sales letter lasts only as long as it converts at a higher rate than other sales letters against which it is tested. Pay-per-click campaigns are notoriously short-lived due to rising click costs and continuous changes in the PPC platform. Print ad spots are all but forgotten once the issue in which your ad is placed has been discarded. Even traditional press releases have a limited shelf life.
But online press releases continue to deliver value months, and even years, after they are distributed. How? Because they are indexed in the search engines and archived on countless websites. This means your website enjoys a large portfolio of backlinks, even if few people read your PRs.
There are, of course, immediate benefits to distributing online press releases since they position your company in front of your audience. But don't ignore the long-term benefits. A well-written press release can act as a sales landing page for years.
#5 – Greater Flexibility In Subject Matter
When marketing your business, there are limited topics you can use to your advantage. The point is to promote your products and services. Mentioning that your employees devote time to various charities, that you sponsor different causes, and do pro bono work, seems disingenuous. Thus, your marketing needs to be focused on promotion.
Press releases work differently. As already noted, there are myriad topics you can leverage since PRs take a much subtler approach in reaching out to your audience. Whether you're introducing a new product, informing readers about an event you're sponsoring, or providing insight about a relevant news story, your audience will be more receptive. They'll keep reading as long as they find the material interesting.
Are your marketing campaigns important? Of course. But don't dismiss online press release distribution as an important part of your overall strategy.