66% of Canadian journalists use a press release to write articles at least weekly
A positive relationship with the media can be instrumental in building and managing your brand’s reputation. Public relations strategy has evolved; press releases can create buzz: they are a traditional but still relevant and effective way for your business to share information with the public and with journalists. Press releases garner publicity on traditional media channels including newspapers, TV, or the radio, and on digital media channels such as websites, blogs and search engines. With online distribution, the audience for press releases has changed: a traditional press release was mailed to journalists; today digital press releases are distributed to a world-wide audience including media, fans, customers, competitors and followers. In fact, the internet, media and bloggers have changed the news business into a 24/7/365 industry which means there is a constant need for new news: and your press release can be just the news they’re looking for!
A well-written press release tells a story and can attract new clients and followers, and keep loyal fans current on your business activity. A press release is not just “free publicity”: a press release is an important tool in your businesses communications strategy. Your business can benefit from positive, relevant and timely media and public exposure. A press release is part of your content marketing strategy to promote and share news about your business: Make sure you have a valid reason to distribute a press release, a story your audience want to know:
- New products or services
- Professional awards or achievements
- Event, fundraiser and special program announcements
- New board members or contributors
- Recognize employee contributions and accomplishment
When you have news that your audience will value, your next step is to write and distribute a press release that will get noticed, get read and get shared.
How to Write Strategic Press Releases
1. Format: Content is the main purpose of your press release. However, as with all digital content press releases should be optimized for searchability using keywords, images, links, quotes and videos. Facts and statistics provide authority. Press releases can be written for distribution, or video press releases can be used for digital distribution. Using SEO strategies in your press releases improves their searchability and ranking, and increases the likelihood they’ll be found, read and shared.
2. Distribution: Press releases can be targeted to different audiences. Press releases can also be released to different media channels, in fact you may have press releases that are only released on social media. Your press release can be sent to bloggers. A video press release can be published only on YouTube. Send your press release to the audience who will be most interested in your story, and the audience you want to tell your story to.
3. Shareability: Include links to share and promote your press release. If your release is found online, you not only want your viewer to read it: you want your viewer to share your press release by forwarding via it email, posting on Twitter, or linking to your story in their blog. News aggregators and bookmarking sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon or Reddit have specific audiences that may be interested in your story, and promote it to other readers.
Press releases are not old school PR: they are a strategic communications tool that when combined with evolving digital technology, content strategy and a distribution plan will bring your message to an audience who is interested in hearing what you have to say, and want to share your story with others.
Listen to what Mark Ragan of Ragan PR and Diane Schwartz of PR News have to say about why the press release is not dead: