The press release has changed. No longer is it designed for the press. Rather, today it is used first and foremost for online search.
An article at B2B Marketing Trends outlines how the press release has gone full circle, from once valuable, to dead, and now back to being reincarnated with a new purpose:
“Not long ago, marketing and public relations professionals were at the mercy of the news media. Journalists were the gatekeepers who decided which messages were worthy of print. The business rewards for such exposure included increased visibility and potential sales leads for companies that made the cut. All others had to pay for their exposure through advertising dollars.
Today, more than 30 million Americans a month use Yahoo! News and Google News, according to Nielsen/Net ratings from 2004. More than 70 percent of Americans use a search engine news portal, and 84 percent use a search engine to find information, products and services. Enter Marketing PR, the most cost-effective method today for reaching buyers directly and generating qualified business leads.
Unlike traditional B2B media relations, Marketing PR bypasses traditional media outlets to accomplish goals such as search engine visibility, demand generation and brand support. A chief weapon of choice is the press release — which until recently was considered “dead” by media pundits. “
For small businesses the new press releases can be a valuable vehicle. You write and distribute a press release using one of several online free or inexpensive news distribution services for small businesses. If you do it right, by optimizing the release for search engine purposes using keywords, and typically paying a reasonable upgrade fee between $30 and a few hundred dollars, you get:
(1) a keyword-optimized Web page that links back to your site,
(2) your release gets included in Google News and Yahoo News,
(3) journalists may notice your company indirectly, through seeing it in Google News or elsewhere online.
One of the most popular of the small-business oriented news release sites is PRWeb. Another is PRLeap.
Hi Anita — For those of us with a background in journalism and public relations, keeping this new factor of key words in mind is a bit of a new wrinkle. However, it doesn’t preclude and certainly shouldn’t interfere with the basics of good writing — who, what, when, where and why — and using the inverted pyramid style with the most important information first.
I couldn’t agree with Lynne Meyer more — while the utility value of press releases and how they are written may have undergone some changes, the fundamentals of what a good press release is should remain the same. As long as the press releases are written with the media and the end consumer in mind (by all means take into consideration the search marketing objectives), they should be ok. Unforunately, many releases get written solely with keywords for search engine optimization in mind.