Gone are the days of typing a press release, making a few copies of it and physically mailing it to journalists, in the hopes they’ll cover your news in a less-than-timely manner. Today, press releases have become a piece of the online content marketing strategy. You don’t have to have a PR Department to issue press releases, either. Businesses of all sizes — from solo entrepreneurial startups to the Fortune 100 — are taking advantage of press releases.
Marketing and communications provider PRNewswire knows the times have changed, and the company is rolling with the times. The company, which offers press release distribution and online visibility services, focuses several of its products on the small business market.
Journalists … and the Rest of Your Audience
Small businesses are seeing the benefit of online PR beyond the traditional press release. Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, declares:
“…it’s time for us to expect more from our press releases in terms of audience reached and outcomes delivered.”
Skerik explains that the audience for a press release has grown with the popularity of social media.
Media journalists are still a potential audience. But recognize that how they deliver content has changed, also, and so should your approach when crafting your release:
“…it’s important to remember that journalists at all different types of media outlets are now charged with creating content for blogs, podcasts and videos; and also for feeding the social media engines that power today’s audience engagement.”
Emerging media (blogs, Twitter, Google+ and more), she says, is also an audience for a press release these days. This includes those social media influencers who might not be journalists, but with a simple tweet can amplify your news to thousands.
Potential customers can find your release directly through the search engines or on other sites, as well, since they’re already online researching brands like yours. So think of the press release as a direct outreach tool, as well.
What the New Press Release Does for Small Businesses
The neat thing about press releases is that they equalize the playing field for small, medium, and large businesses. PR Newswire provides press release distribution, media outreach, and other online marketing tools to every sized business, so small biz benefits most by being able to access the same tools as larger counterparts.
Getting covered in the Wall Street Journal is still, of course, gold for any business, but Skerik encourages businesses to consider redefining what constitutes success in distributing a press release online. Social media can help amplify your message, as can a solo blogger who stumbles across your news and shares it with his or her readers.
Whatever metrics you choose to analyze, make sure to set them up within your press release, creating trackable calls to action you can measure.
What PR Newswire Does for Small Business
Says Michael Crumley, Senior Manager of PR Newswire’s SME Program:
“Small businesses can compete with larger companies for consumer and media mindshare. In fact, small businesses can expedite growth by leveraging the power of online public relations and content syndication to reach potentially millions of readers.”
PR Newswire offers a self-service tool to small businesses called iReach. With it, small businesses can enable their search engine optimized news to be shared in social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and be seen on the largest news sites like Yahoo!, MSN and AOL.
PR Newswire also manages a small business portal called PRToolkit designed to educate small business owners on PR and online marketing.
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This article is part of a series highlighting key players in the Small Business Influencer Awards.
This site has a content-partnership relationship with PRNewswire, and offers readers a discount on PRNewswire through an affiliate relationship.