First things first, I’m not saying that press releases aren’t fundamental to integrated marketing and public relations. What I am saying is that a surprising number of business owners and marketers fail to adequately measure the results of writing and pitching a release, making their media release efforts rather pointless.
Second, this post is not for the PR professional who knows the amount of research and time that should be put into creating media lists, as well as understand their importance. This IS for the people who have trouble measuring pitching efforts, which is largely because they don’t really know the purpose of a press release in the first place (from what I’ve noticed at least).
Now that we’ve got that out the way, let’s proceed.
Should I Write That Press Release?
Oh man, I wish I had a flow chart of this. But I don’t (yet), so bare with me. A press release can be an effective way to communicate a wide range of business-related news, but you will need to use your best judgement to decide if your information warrants a press release or if it would be more effective (and less time-consuming) to use another type of communication altogether, such as a blog, social media update or email campaign.
The main thing to remember is the purpose of a press release: to help journalists do their jobs, not clutter their inboxes. Before sending a press release to reporters or *sigh* through the wire, determine whether or not the news is truly relevant to your intended recipients. So, target your audience … and don’t overdo it. Limiting the number of press releases you send to a specific channel or reporter will help prevent you from being ignored, deleted or flagged as spam.
Press Release Channels
The popular method to distribute a press release is through “the wire” – that is, one of the major online news distribution sites, like
. Is this effective? Very rarely. But that’s fine,
because the wire is not your only option, and if you have really big news, it’s not even your best option.
Press release reprints from the wire do not have the credibility of a news article written by a reporter. Plus, there’s a misconception that press release reprints can significantly boost your search engine rank. Press release reprints are typically included on a separate page of a channel’s website and can be hard to find. Sure, those releases do have some SEO value in that they can appear in searches for applicable keywords. But more often than not, press releases are published online for a short amount of time before they’re taken down, meaning there’s no long-term benefit for your SEO. Yep, you’ve been lied to.
A more effective method for pitching a news release involves a lot of research to locate relevant reporters and sending them individual pitches. Think about the audience you are ultimately trying to reach, and then determine which publications and reporters to pursue. This method can be extremely time-consuming, but will produce better results.
Measuring a Successful Press Release
So you’ve decided that your news deserves a press release, and you’ve even determined which reporters and news channels will reach your desired audience. So now you want to know: how do you measure the success of your press release? I am
glad you’re here.
Obviously, the news wire dashboard will report back thousands of press release views and that’s all we need to measure the success of a press release, right? Wrong. So, so wrong.
The measurement part of the process is the part that is, unfortunately, practiced the least — even though it is
What you need to do is define the goal of the press release. For instance, if you announce a website launch, your goal is to get people to visit your website. A good way to measure the success of a press release announcing the launch is to look for an increase in website traffic. An example would be setting a goal of a 50 percent increase in website traffic after the press release has been sent. If that number is reached, you had a successful distribution.
Like everything in marketing, media relation efforts should have a goal. Without goals, you can’t measure results. This is basic stuff any marketer should be able to tell you, so why is it forgotten in PR efforts?
A [much nicer] version of this blog first appeared on: http://www.signetinteractive.com/blog/2014/11/11/what-your-press-releases-are-doing-for-your-business/