You’ve likely read Press Releases – They pass through major news outlets every day, though most of them go unnoticed by folks that are not subscribed to their particular business niche. And if you’re a business owner, there’s at least a small chance you’ve executed a press release or two.
They seem to still be relatively foreign to most small businesses and are mostly dominated by the Public Company (Pubco) crowd, and non-profits. That’s mostly a function of how those businesses work. Pubco marketing is directly tied to stock price, and non-profits are endlessly seeking donations and raising capital, so they have a strong incentive to smash the Press Release button all day long.
Pre-internet, press releases were THE THING for getting your story to the masses. Not so much these days. Between the relatively crowded PR space (hundreds to thousands of PR’s hit the wires every day) and the simple ease of social media marketing, it’s no surprise that PR’s as a marketing tool are underutilized in 2019. However, there’s good reason to look twice at using Press Releases to boost your small business.
First and foremost, press releases are effective for improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Each press release generates hundreds to thousands of backlinks from “trusted” content providers (Google, Yahoo, CNBC, CNN Money, NASDAQ, etc.).
They are also relatively simple to execute. You’ll want to generate a 4-5 paragraph release, and have some picture + video content if possible. Make sure you’ve included relevant links to your products and services, and then contact a Wire service. I tend to use Accesswire, but there are dozens of options out there.
A Note on Cost: The rates of these services are usually negotiable, and if one wire service is giving you a bad rate, call around for better quotes. Rates vary between $200-$300 for a US release, and increase if you’re looking to get into Canada + Europe, etc. Avoid the industry-branded wires, they upcharge and I haven’t run across one that yields additional value.
Wire services have also started to offer some targeted packages for particular states, but my experience with those hasn’t yielded much fruit – I recommend sticking with the basic press release package.
I’m also not the first person to use Press Releases for SEO and there’s some good writing on the topic over here from Cognitive. They make some arguments about nofollow links that I think are worth noting, but having used PR’s in conjunction with a robust social media and content marketing strategy in the past, I wouldn’t worry about it, so long as you aren’t spamming press releases about your CEO’s birthday (happens all the time, looking at you pubco’s).
Regardless, you should be using Press Releases on at least a quarterly basis. Focus on your brand’s core message, and ensure thorough use of links and visual media to drown out the noise.