Last updated on July 6th, 2016 at 06:46 am
In the fast-moving digital world, the press release is widely viewed as an anachronism.
Compared to sizzle and sexiness of social media and content marketing, the press release is a digital dinosaur. As Chris Hogg argued in an earlier post on B2B NN, why would anyone use a press release when they can tweet, share and update to a global audience, or create content that delivers insight and value to potential and existing customers?
While social media and content marketing are certainly effective marketing tools, it would be a major mistake to ignore press releases.
Rather than focus on the apparent weaknesses of the press release, it is important to focus on its strengths.
First, press releases have a lot of utility as a way for companies to track their progress. They are vehicles to disclose small and large accomplishments to demonstrate activity, traction, interesting developments and news.
Some of these press releases can be confined to an internal audience, while others can be distributed publicly through a Website and/or using a wire service such as Marketwired.
For different target audiences, the number of press releases illustrates things are happening.
For example, a startup could demonstrate all-important traction by posting press release on its Website. This would show potential customers, employees and investors the startup continues to move forward. Press releases don’t have to be earth shattering; they simply have to show headway.
Second, press releases have value when it comes to search engine optimization. While Google continues to change its search algorithm, there is value in creating and distributing content. While not glamorous, the press release can attract attention from a variety of media outlets – you never know who might find them interesting.
Third, the press release doesn’t have to be boring and non-descript. The traditional formula of pumping out a headline along with five or six paragraphs of uninspiring copy is disappearing. (Note: If your press releases are still following this template, change it as soon as possible.)
The new press release (aka press release 2.0) can embrace the power of storytelling as opposed to unexciting facts and a canned quote. Using some creativity, a press release can have an engaging narrative that leverages the traditional format.
Press releases can contain links to external sources, photos and videos so it they act a “hub” that delivers a variety of content to meet the needs of different target audiences.
Finally, press releases need to be seen as part of a marketing arsenal. You need to look at press releases as a cog in the wheel, rather than seeing them in isolation. As part of a cohesive marketing engine, press releases have a place at the table to deliver content in different ways to different audiences….and they can leverage social media to make that happen.
As a result, it is important for marketers to be strategic about press releases.
They need to think about how press releases can drive content on a site, for example, to serve a variety of stakeholders. They need to think about how a new approach to press releases can still provide value to reporters and bloggers who operate in a fast-paced world in which quickly getting the facts is more important than ever.
For some companies, press releases will play a leading role, while other companies will rely on other marketing tools. But it is important to understand that business is not a one-size-fits-all proposition when it comes to marketing and sales. For some verticals, the press release plays a key role in establishing a connection.
Bottom line: Be careful about dismissing the press release as old school and not having value. Used in the right ways, it can still be an effective tool.