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Every few years, we ask ourselves, as inbound marketers, do press releases still deserve a place within our efforts? For many clients, including ourselves, we have used press releases as one of the many ways to build visibility for campaigns. But is it still worth the time (several hours) and cost (a few hundred to a few thousand dollars)? And what is the actual ROI?
Here we take an updated look at the use of press releases as a part of your inbound marketing strategy.
For many years, businesses, public relations departments and SEO gurus were sending out press releases for three main reasons:
While the first two reasons certainly still have the potential to garner results in a public relations setting, the third goal has come under scrutiny with Google.
During a Google office hours hangout call, John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst, said:
“…we try to ignore links from things like press releases because we know in general companies put the press releases out themselves. So any links in there are essentially placed by themselves…I just wouldn’t rely on… press releases as a strategy for building up links for a website because, like I said, we do ignore most of those.”
The short answer is, maybe.
Like all other content formats, press releases can earn you brand awareness, engagement and earned media if it is high-quality content created with the intent of providing the reader something worthwhile.
Breaking this down further, putting out press releases to toot your company’s horn will do no good. But if you put out a press release to announce a service or results that will be helpful to your leads, prospects and/or customers, it may pique their interest enough to learn more.
Additionally, Cision found that in 2020 journalists still prefer press releases as a top method for finding new stories. If your content is created with serving your audience in mind — and the topic is timely — your press release could earn you media coverage on numerous channels, including television, radio, podcasts and even websites… all enhancing your brand awareness, and potentially even enhancing your SEO efforts.
While building links using press releases has some (albeit, fading) value, the real worth lies in writing content and sharing information your audience will find useful. This can be in any format, including blogs, online articles or even press releases. So start by writing for your audience then distributing that content on channels that make sense.
If you choose to distribute a press release, you should go back to its original purpose: announcing useful information to your audience and, yes, the media, too. This means your information should be helpful, timely and relevant, as always. To obtain maximum results from your press release, you should aim to have it picked up (beyond press release sites) by media outlets or respected industry news sites — these are great backlinks and will help spread your information even further and to the right audience.
To accomplish this goal with any type of content, here are a few top tips:
If you ask me, “Are press releases worth my time and money?” My answer is still, “Yes — with the proper content and effort.” Tell the stories that matter to your audience, then use press releases to spread the word.
A good press release is good content. And when online buyers and media alike get a hold of information they find useful or entertaining, you will get more backlinks than you ever asked for.