It always seems like when I write a post for Kuno Creative, I start reflecting on the good old days—like five or 10 years ago. Those were the days when you’d put together a digital marketing strategy that revolved around blogs and emails, and the term SEO wasn’t as prominent as it is now. That was also the time when digital marketing strategies started including fewer press releases.
Press releases used to be a critical part of every marketing strategy. The “release” is what helped make your audience aware of your new product or service, or how you would “pitch” it. You would send one out because you had news to share. It would include things like:
- vital information
- people to contact
It was a fast, easy way to hook your audience and get them talking about your product or company. But as inbound marketing grew, so did the current inbound marketing strategies we use today, and press releases seemed to fall out of favor.
These days writing a press release can be an afterthought when you’re putting together a digital marketing strategy. But it shouldn’t be. Here are some reasons why they should still be considered an important part of your plan.
Press Releases Are Free
The best things in life are free, right? So are press releases. That’s why they should at least be considered your digital marketing strategy.
They used to cost you money. You had to buy the paper to print it on, have a printer (and ink) to print it out, and stamps and envelopes to mail them out. But not anymore.
Your press release can become a part of your email campaign. All it is going to cost you is a little bit of time to put it together. You will have to build a list of emails to send it to, and spend some time writing it, but the cost to put it out? Nothing.
To make the process even easier, use your automated email platform. Yes, the same one you’re using to connect with customers. An automated email can save you a lot of time and frustration and make it easier to follow up on the press releases you put out. It’s an essential part of online marketing because using an automated email platform allows you to:
- segment journalists into lists based on factors like area of reporting.
- decide what time is best to send a release.
- see who opens your email and track your results.
Isn’t technology great? You can track in real time who is showing interest in your release. It’s like having a search engine built into your marketing activities (except you don’t have to do the searching, it’s already done for you).
Squeeze Out Some SEO
Speaking of search engines, in these days of digital advertising, you have to think about optimizing your press release, too.
If you’re putting out a press release, you should include some backlinks. Backlinks in press releases don’t directly impact SEO, per se, but that doesn’t mean you should eliminate the idea from your digital marketing strategy. 
Why? Because if you have a great topic that is picked up by an established publication, you can reach lots of people. Use this as an opportunity to link to a case study or a video on your company’s site that helps get your point across.
If you earn media coverage, that story will most likely live on the website of the media outlet. This is important because the published article should contain links to your company’s website. And since these links are coming from trustworthy sources (like a news organization), they are considered to be high quality. Earning high-quality links through press release SEO can help improve your website’s rankings.
Even if only one outlet picks up your story, it’s worth it.
You Control the Message
One of the biggest advantages of putting out a press release is that you control the message. You’ll decide things like:
- who will provide quotes.
- what product information is most vital.
- how long or short it will be.
Your quotes should explain the impact your company or product is going to have on your audience. Or use them to provide a call to action. And make sure you’re providing valuable background information. Since you’re controlling the message, make the information work for you.
Reach a Large or Targeted Audience
Since your press release will be part of your email marketing plan, you can either cast a wide net or target who you’re going to send it to.
It may depend on your goal. Are you trying to drum up new business? Attempting to make people (or businesses) aware of your new product or service? Or looking for some coverage from a media outlet?
You may find it hard to believe, but researchers at Wylie communications found journalists still rely on releases. They cited a 2014 Business Wire Media Survey that found 70% of respondents noting their jobs would be harder without press releases. And 88% in a Greentarget study said they found releases at least somewhat valuable.
These journalists use releases for reference to check things like spelling of names, job titles and other facts.Sometimes they’ll even turn to releases for quotes. Newsrooms are getting smaller, and reporters are being asked to do more with less. Press releases can be a time-saving tool for these understaffed organizations.
Whether it’s a reporter or the CEO of another company, what’s great is you can tailor the release to each of the audiences you’re trying to reach. It’s up to you. The key to writing the perfect pitch is to include key elements. Things like: