Once upon a time, the words “Stop the Presses!” would be heard in news printing houses across the globe, and the presses would come to a screeching halt. These days, with the Internet, we’re no longer restricted to gathering news from just broadcast or print media. Companies, businesses and individuals can now quickly and easily send out an online press release and have it distributed almost instantly across a variety of channels, worldwide.
However, many companies and traditional marketing consultancies have failed to fully appreciate the value of a modern online press release, something that online marketers have done to great effect. There are a number of benefits, such as:
- The digital footprint of your brand, product, service and/or company will increase dramatically
- You will have more control over your brand’s online image
- You can establish yourself or your company as an industry professional and expert
- A press release that is well written can lead to increased conversions
Have Nothing to Share? Think Again.
The primary reason why companies aren’t releasing press releases is that they mistakenly believe that they have nothing newsworthy to share. In reality, however, much of what you do on a daily basis can be leveraged in a way that renders it newsworthy. You don’t have to wait until you have some incredibly exciting or earth-shattering to write a press release. Consider:
A Company Launch
Whether you’re brand new on the scene or you’ve created a brand new sister company related to your current business, company launches are definitely newsworthy. Creating a press release for a launch provides you with the opportunity to share what the company’s going to be about, how it can benefit the customer, and what sort of products and services you’ll be providing to the public.
A New or Change in Company Divisions
Adding a new division to your company? Or maybe you’re changing the names and/or responsibilities of existing divisions. Both are equally newsworthy and can be shared. Even a short 300 word piece about a small change to your divisions, or the addition of a new division to your existing business structure, can be made newsworthy with some creative (but always accurate) writing.
New Hires and Staff Promotions
Why not let the world know that Sarah has been promoted to CEO? Or that John has joined your marketing team? Not only does this help get the word out about your business, but it also tells people that you care about your employees. Showing that you care and support your employees – that you are proud of them – helps improve the credibility of your company and trust in your products, services and brands.
New Products and Services
And, on the topic of products and services, one obvious reason to issue an online press release is to announce an upcoming new product or service. Provide an overview of the new feature/benefits, and link to your website for greater detail.
TIPS: Take the opportunity to share any new applications that you may have for existing products and services. If you’ve created a new application, great. Also think about having a chat with your customer service team. See if they know if any new uses that current customers have adopted for your current products and turn that into a press release: “Customer driven uses for xyz revealed….”.
Good Deeds/Charity Events
Apart from “giving back” to the community, you can also use your involvement in a charity event in which your company has been involved, as the basis for a press release. Good deeds create great publicity. Whether it’s building homes for Habitat for Humanity, serving hot meals for the homeless, or donating funds to help protect the rainforest, these are all great, newsworthy events. Also referred to as “corporate social responsibility”, or CSR, partaking in such activities helps build up the trust that a potential or current customer will have in your company.
Always be sure to make the online press release about the event primarily, noting the outcomes. The mention of your involvement should be more subtle, showing your support for a worthwhile cause, rather that blatant self-promotion.
Sales and Promotional Offers
Everyone likes a great deal, so really capitalize on any sales or promotional offers that your company will be having by distributing an online news release about them. Tell people exactly when and how they can participate.
TIP: To make your existing customers and brand loyalists feel extra special, and to encourage customer re-engagement, consider offering them a bonus (e.g. a product or service to complement the offer).
If you’ve received an award, no matter how big or how small, share it! You’ll be surprised by how being voted the #1 bakery in your small community will increase your sales, or how receiving a “green company” award will bring more attention to your business. Highlight your accomplishments at every opportunity.
White Paper and eBook Releases
Here’s a great way to work your lead generating muscle: announce the publication of any white paper or eBook through press releases. Get a feel for what type of white papers and eBooks to promote at different times of the year, to help you guide visitors and leads through your sales funnel.
Hosting and Speaking at Events
Whether you’re hosting or speaking at an event, both will increase your company’s credibility amongst your peers and industry professionals. Being a “thought leader” will turn you into an expert, which benefits you in a number of ways:
- People want to hire the best and buy from the best, so customers will choose you over the competition
- Your peers, seeing you as an expert in your field, are more likely to refer people to you over anybody else
TIP: Don’t forget any online events that you may be hosting, such as webinars or live tutorials!
Comment on an Industry-Relevant News Story
To help establish and maintain your authority in your niche, it is worth monitoring what others are doing within it. Releasing an opinion on the effectiveness of new tools or strategies can, when crafted properly, become news itself, particularly when it is very industry-specific. For example ‘Launch of ABC (third party tool) A Timely Reminder to Update Security Processes’ .
Deciding when and how often to distribute online press releases is a topic of much debate, but in my experience more than one per week leads to results resembling self-promotion rather than newsworthiness. Press release frequency should be managed as part of a content creation strategy, rather than on an ad-hoc basis.
When planning their content strategies, we always include online media releases in the mix, and even offer to identify appropriate opportunities for their use. If you would like more information on this content strategy planning service contact me, Kerry Finch.