How to Avoid a Costly, $300 Mistake When Writing Your Online Press Releases

Blogging Pen, Courtesy Maria Davis, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariareyesmcdavis/A client of ours recently wrote asking for a press release to promote an eBook we developed about six months ago.

The eBook was done, she had her ducks in a row and she was ready to push out a press release to get some coverage. But she wanted it overnight.

Now we can accommodate these requests 99 times out of 100. In fact, writing her press release overnight was not only possible; I did it. But before I wrote it and after I sent it I asked her to do one thing for me.

To not post it right away. I wanted to do some additional keyword and media research to ensure I was targeting terms that would get this press release to as many potential publishers as possible.

This, I told here, was immensely important and could make a HUGE difference in how successful her $300 investment on PR Web would be.

The Truth About Online Press Releases

An online press release does something offline press releases do not – it gets indexed in search engine news listings and occasionally reprinted on sites with extremely high value backlinks.

If you get lucky (e.g. hire a killer press release writer), your release can generate dozens of backlinks and provide a huge boost to your SEO efforts.

And of course, it also gets distributed to media outlets – from TV and radio programming directors to newspaper editors and bloggers. But for whatever reason, when it comes to small businesses, too many marketers use press releases as quick backlink grabs, ignoring the HUGE benefits that can come from real-world media exposure.

If you’re going to do a press release, why not do it right and get some coverage by the actual press?

So when someone churns out a $15 press release just to get a few quick backlinks, or if you submit the release to free distribution sites to get those freebie links, you’re not getting nearly as much out of it as you could. It’s a classic case of doing something just to do it.

How to Maximize ROI from Every Press Release

Here’s a great example of just how valuable a press release can be for your company.

A year ago, one of our local clients hired a new staff member. We produced press releases for him every 2 months and so we used the new hire as the basis for our release. Instead of jotting out 300 words and pumping it into the PR Web machine, we developed a long list of terms related to that industry for the previous 6 months.

I looked at what trade publications were actually printing, what types of stories they were looking at locally on their editorial calendar and we wrote around that.

Press Release Views - 3 weeks

By spending an extra day doing research for that press release, we generated 24,000 views, over 900 full reads and dozens of leads in a week. And the topic, while newsworthy, wasn’t a product announcement. It was a standard event that occurs almost monthly for most medium sized businesses.

Press Release Reads - 3 Weeks

The bottom line is that a press release is a powerful tool, but only when used properly. As with guest posts, which we talked about earlier, you can’t expect the best possible results if you don’t put out the best possible effort.

Whether that means spending a few more hours yourself or hiring a company like Great Leap Studios to write the press release for you – I guarantee you’ll get better results from a bit larger investment.