Are Press Releases Effective For Marketing?
A lot of marketers new to press releases wonder if they are genuinely effective for marketing. They may have heard horror stories about press releases being a waste of time and/or money. Others might have been told online that the press release is dead and no longer an effective marketing tool.
The truth is that your press release will only be as effective as the goal you set for it and how well you write it. Fortunately, it’s easy to set a goal and track it once you know how. You can also learn how to write an effective press release, and the more releases you write, the better you will become at creating them.
Setting a goal for your press release
The goal for your press release might be:
- More traffic
- More subscribers, through the offer of a new free ebook or special report
- More sales, such as through launching a new product
- Getting people to attend a free or paid live event
- Greater brand awareness through media pickups
Your call to action will depend on your goal. You can then measure how successful you are at achieving that goal once you’ve published the press release.
Writing your press release
There are a few rules for writing a press release:
1. It has to be news
A press release is not an ad even if it does serve as a marketing piece. Be sure your press release is about something journalists will feel is important enough to share with their audience through pickups.
2. It needs to have a great headline
Studies have shown that 100% of readers read the headline of a press release or news story, but only 70% go on to read the first paragraph. To improve your odds of getting your press release read, the headline should grab attention, hint at what the story will be about, and get readers curious to learn more.
3. It needs to have all the facts
Again, a press release is a factual news story, not an ad, so be sure to include the 5Ws of journalism:
Who is involved, what happened, etc. Journalists will need this information if they pick up your story.
4. Include media
Studies have shown that press releases with an image are seven times more likely to get picked up than those that don’t have one.
5. Include a call to action
Based on what your goal is, as discussed above, give readers a clear call to action about what they should do now that they have read the press release. It might be to get a free report, which they would obtain through subscribing to your list, get free or paid tickets to your live event, and so on.
Publishing your press release
Once you are finished writing your press release, publish it on one of the free or paid press release distribution services. This will spread the press release widely to both a range of websites and to journalists who use particular distribution services like a database to get ideas for their articles.
Measuring the effectiveness of your press release
Tracking and testing the results of your press release is essential if you are to determine whether or not it has been successful. The success or not will be based on pickups and on the results of your call to action and how close you have come to meet your goals.
The press release distribution service should show how many pickups you have had, and list the most prestigious ones. Your traffic logs will show how much of a boost your site has received, and traffic to a special landing page you should create for each press release that gives readers more information, a chance to buy a product, or a chance to subscribe.
If selling a product is your goal, check your sales reports. If growing your email marketing list is your goal, check the number of subscribers who are signing up for your free special report.