How to get the most value from your press release investment
Press releases are not what they used to be – they have evolved dramatically to keep up with the changing communication landscape. Now they not only reach media targets but online and social channels as well – and along with that come performance metrics such as page views, click interactions and shares by social network. A press release can generate greater, more measurable results than ever before. Here are five ways you can maximize your press release investment.
1) Write for the way your audience searches for your news
Now that Google disregards embedded links in press releases, many people think search engine optimization is a thing of the past. Not so. If you carefully choose the words that most directly relate to your content – words that your audience uses when searching for what you’re writing about – search engines will catalog the release accordingly. When your audience enters those terms in search engines they are likely to find your news, particularly if those terms are unique to your content. And you can still use hyperlinks to take the reader to web pages that support your message. A great example – linking to a web page with product specs will add context to a new product announcement.
2) Pick the right news distribution service
Although major news distribution services perform seemingly similar functions, they are not all the same. Look at factors such as:
- Breadth and depth of distribution – does the service offer the news circuits and distribution end points that address your business needs – and does it increase visibility through online and trade distribution and by adding social sharing links?
- Ease of use – are you able to quickly understand how to use the service and submit releases?
- Customer service and support – is there personal guidance in helping you meet your objectives and answering your questions?
- Performance metrics – do press release analytics reports give you the type of information you need to measure and report on ROI?
- Social intelligence – does the service offer the ability to research social trends so you can incorporate messaging and keywords that resonate with your target audience?
- Pickup – is your release picked up by the online outlets that matter to you?
- Cost – is the cost reasonable for the services and results you’re getting?
3) Pick the right distribution channels when you submit your release
Is your audience primarily in upstate New York? Then choose a news circuit that targets that area. Conversely, if you want to target an audience that resides in several states, consider selecting a national circuit. State, provincial or regional newslines may be lower in cost individually, but if you choose multiple circuits you’ll get a lot of duplication and end up paying cumulatively more. You might consider monitoring social channels to see what audiences are saying about the type of content in your release; you can also find out where they’re located. This can help you determine if a more narrow distribution circuit like an industry hotspot rather than a broader national circuit makes more sense, for example.
4) Write with online and social in mind
Releases distributed today reach a myriad of online outlets and often social channels as well, so think search engines and Twitter when you write your release. Although press release headlines should be under 100 characters, only the first 60 or so are displayed on search engines and only the first sentence or two shows up in the snippet. Twitter displays 140 characters. So consider where your release would be cut off at 60 and 140 characters and try to include the essence of your release right at the beginning.
5) Add multimedia to expand your reach and visibility
When you add a photo or video to your release it not only brings your content to life and makes it more compelling, but it also broadens exposure and reach. There are several ways to take advantage of multimedia assets in your press release:
- Name your image and video files using keywords relevant to your release – this will help your audience find them on search engines
- Add links to your embedded video thumbnails and images that take readers to relevant landing pages on your website; this gives you an opportunity to engage with them
- Post your images and videos on social channels and make sure your news distribution service hosts them on its website indefinitely so these assets are available long after your release distributes
- Consider that journalists, bloggers and media outlets are often on tight deadlines and appreciate ready-to-go, professional video clips, images and photos – providing them increases the likelihood they will use your content
Please contact us if you have any questions about how to boost your press release’s performance.