Sunday, January 17, 2010

Press release marketing is open to everybody

When I first started promoting my business and associated website ( I was a bit sceptical when I read the advice I am about to give you if you are doing the same: issue a press release. Not just one, but regular press releases. If you have never considered this promotional avenue, your reaction could be similar to my initial one: press releases are for big companies, movie stars, politicians and the like. Who do you think I am, Max Clifford?

Well things have changed. Press release marketing has been democratized and there are literally thousands of channels available to anyone to be able to distribute press releases online. Any business and/or website could and should benefit from issuing press releases, although you should read my caveats before you jump in and do so.

First the advantages which really fall into three categories:

1. Publicity. Obvious really but a decent release published in the right places can be an invaluable source of publicity as the release gets read directly plus indirectly as it gets picked up by online news aggregators like Google News and Topix, blogs, social network sites etc Particularly valuable if you can get exposure to your release on sites specific to your industry or niche. A good release can confer some credibility on your small business or site.

2. Media exposure. Most press releases don't get any media exposure i.e. get picked up and used as news by real media professionals, but they could if they are (a) interesting and newsworthy, perhaps in a particular niche (b) released on the right PR distribution sites (ones that pros use like PRWeb but note these are more expensive).

3. SEO benefits. For most small sites and businesses this is probably the best reason to use press releases. They rank very well in search results and quite quickly (Google regularly crawls PR sites for fresh material). They can give you valuable links to boost your own site's rankings although this varies from site to site as some PR sites are more prestigious than others and some don't allow you to put links in their free release options. Best of all if your release gets picked up by other sites there is a very good chance that you will pick up links from there as well. Adding press releases to your own site, perhaps in a "Press Room" area can also make the site more interesting and professional-looking as well as encourage Google to re-index regularly.


You have got to do it right or you end up looking unprofessional and gaining few of these benefits. The release itself should be well-written, conform to PR norms (and those of the site you are distributing it on), genuinely interesting and not a sales pitch. This last point is vital - you risk coming over like a crass clown if you put out a press release which is merely a thinly veiled plug or pitch. When you read your release back to yourself it should sound like a genuine bit of news that other people might genuinely like to hear about. Don't overload it with links to your site, maybe just one but do put links to other articles and authoritative sources that add credibility and explain the background to the item.

I think I got the balance right with this one: (based on an article I had written about the Spanish property market which also achieved extra exposure through the release)

Also not all PR sites are created equal. Of the free ones I have found PressReleasePoint and PRLog to be good but try a few out.

Another tip is to read other people's releases and articles explaining how to write an effective release before you try it.

Useful information and guidance if you are new to running and promoting a website:

1 comment:

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