Press Releases? Really? In this Day and Age?

Press Releases? Really? In this Day and Age?

August 14, 2015

For many people, press releases represent an old school "Web 1.0" approach to all things Internet. Back in the day, people would routinely produce press releases and upload them to the numerous press release sites that blossomed around then (seemingly overnight). Back then the main reason for sending a press release out was to accumulate links back to your website. At that time, Google was link driven, and the more links you had, the better your site must be. Things have moved on and links are less important. And in a world of Google Trends and social media, producing press releases has become a chore many feel is no longer worth the effort. But perhaps press releases need revisiting. Perhaps they have a role to play. Here then are some of the reasons why they might:

Why should I send press releases?

1. People out there are looking for press releases
The internet has become a series of niches and the more segmented an audience, the more likely there are people out there looking for press releases. For bloggers and smaller websites covering very specific areas (for instance, the world of dedicated servers as opposed to web hosting in general) press releases represent their lifeblood. They provide immediate, up-to-date and pertinent information that is relevant to their area of interest.

2. Google follows press releases
Although Google News is dominated by the big stories that are making the headlines on any given day, it also covers anything and everything that represents 'news'. Simply type "web hosting press release" into Google News and you will get the picture. Likewise, set up Google Alerts with the same criteria and you can find that a press release comes your way on an almost hourly basis. Again, Google News and Google Alerts are sources of content for journalists and bloggers, and sending press releases out is one sure way of getting your news into Google and into the hands of the people who need it.

3. Kudos are attached to press releases
There is something formal and impressive about a press release. Yes, of course, IBM, Google and Microsoft have their blogs to give you their latest news, but they also send out well-crafted and pertinent press releases as well. High profile news agencies like Reuters and the best newspapers on the planet have no problem republishing quotes provided in press releases. If the biggest businesses on the planet send out press releases as a matter of policy, you should join their ranks. The more (high quality) press releases you send out, the more they reflect on your brand as a serious brand.

4. Press releases are permanent and correct
In a throwaway online world, a press release represents a considered communication. It is an official statement and one that might, for a variety of reasons, be reviewed in the future. When you consider the hearsay and conjecture that circulates the internet and ultimately becomes "fact", press releases are firsthand and final, and a means to avoid the speculation that typically qualifies as news on the Internet these days.

5. Press releases go viral
Like a video or a song, people send each other press releases, meaning your company benefits from "word of mouth" advertising that can reach an extraordinary number of people in a remarkably short period of time, especially in these days of mobile internet.

What should I send press releases for?

You can send a press release for anything that is genuinely newsworthy within your company. Here then are some of the things you can send press releases for:

1. New products or services
A new product or service (or even website) is definitely newsworthy, and should be covered by a press release. As we said earlier, a press release will get your news onto search engines quickly and efficiently (meaning no need for hours of SEO).

2. Changes in business model or procedure
If you are changing how you do business explain exactly why in a press release. A statement from the CEO will leave readers in no doubt exactly why certain changes have to be made.

3. Changes in personnel
If you are bringing somebody onboard as a new member of the team, there is no better way of letting the world know than sending an official press release.

4. Milestones and anniversaries
If you have just sold your millionth product or you are about to celebrate your company's 10th birthday, let the world know through a press release.

5. To educate your audience
If there are changes in the way the market operates (new laws, etc.) you need to let your customers know about them. Press releases allow you to inform the public on a range of issues that are pertinent to both your business and your target group. In doing so you attach credibility to your company.

6. To slap yourself on the back
Good earnings this quarter? Let the public know by sending a press release. Obviously, there is nothing that can reinforce a positive image of a company than positive news about your company's accomplishments.

7. To promote an event
If you company organizes an annual conference or get together, or your company is doing something for charity (a sponsored run, etc.), let the world know - send a press release.

8. SEO
We started by saying that sending press releases for SEO is old school, but it is still important. When a journalist or blogger reports your news, the chances are that they will link to your site. And while links are no longer such an important part of the Google algorithm, quality links still represent a component. Press release sites are often regarded as quality sites by Google.

How often should I send press releases?

Let common sense prevail. A company that sends a daily press release that says very little is unlikely to be considered anything less than hungry for free publicity. A company that sends press releases in a restrained and professional fashion is very likely to be viewed in a much more positive fashion.