5/2/10

Is It Time For A Press Release?


While attending the ECMTA Summit in Las Vegas last month, I had the opportunity to hear a presentation entitled The Secrets to Online News Releases and Optimization, given by Sophie Shiatis,Vice-President, eCommerce and Marketing for PRWeb. Sophie's presentation was fantastic. She focused upon a PRWeb client, Vedante, who has taken their company to the next level by using PRWeb's services. My interest was peaked. Is it time for a press release?

After the presentation, I was thrilled to be able to speak with Sophie personally. My first question was, "Can't I achieve the same results with my blog?" She said, "No, however, press releases, or news releases, are extremely effective when used in conjunction with blog posts." She then proceeded to explain the nuances of both tools, and how entrepreneurs can benefit from using them in tandem, to increase brand visibility.

What are some of the differences?
Writing styles differ between blog posts and press releases.
Simply put, blogs offer opinions, or analysis, on a given subject. Blogs are your personal expression. Press releases are strictly fact based and impart news or announcements, such as added products or services, personnel promotions, events, or other company information. Press releases must be both professional and factual in order to be considered worthy of inclusion in the search engines and news directories.

In terms of SEO, the writer must optimize a press release in much the same way a blogger would optimize his posts. Good keywords are vital, as are quality, relevant links, tagged images and properly sized titles, (headlines).

This is where the services of a reputable company, like PRWeb, will help the average merchant immensely. PRWeb offers their members a service which proof-reads your submission before it's released to the public. This is an actual person, trained for writing top-notch content, who will report back to you with suggestions for ways to improve your text and your SEO, to maximize the potential of your press release.

Another thing I've learned about press releases is that they tend to create more backlinks than the average blog post. Think of it this way... there are thousands of news directories and feeds online whose primary goal is to provide the most up-to-date news to a variety of websites. A press release is a news release, and is treated as breaking news, for which the url and content are copied and pasted exactly from the news release sites. (Yes, you must release from a reputable site.) Blogs, while an indisputable way to create backlinks, do not get re-copied and pasted to the same extent, even though they are indexed in the same fashion.

In a very simple example, imagine an announcement that you are soon to be offering a new product in your store. You might write a press release announcing the new relationship your company has with the supplier, indicating what day the product will be available, what specials can be found to introduce the new product, etc. You would include a link to both your blog and your store, with an optimized image of your new product. (Using images increases the click-thru rate!) Then, you might write a blog article about the benefits of your new product or the reason why everyone in the country should have one of their own. (Get the idea?) In the blog, you would include a link to your press release and a link to your store, as well as a copy of that optimized image. Voila. A reputable source, like PRWeb, can help you capitalize on this simple idea, turning it into a press release that will expand your audience, improve your visitor count, and ultimately, increase sales.

Don't misunderstand me. Blogs and press releases can also be used alone, with success. I just wanted you to see how Sophie explained the connection to this blogger. (And how combining your efforts can lead to improved link building and visibility.)

Now, the downside? It's not cheap.

PRWeb offers packages that range from $80 to $360 per press release. They recommend 2-3 press releases per month, to generate maximum online visibility. Each package has varying levels of service, based upon what you want to achieve with that particular release and how much you are willing to spend. I am attaching a single page of PRWeb Online News Release Distribution Packages for your perusal.

And from Sophie herself, I have the entire ECMTA presentation online, with a special discount of 25% off the first release for anyone who requests it! Let me know that you're interested, and I'll forward it to you.

It's understandable that the pricing may be intimidating to small business owners. OnlineAuction.com is fortunate to attract businesses of all sizes and capabilities - perhaps this is the right approach, at the right time for your business! Or perhaps paid press releases are something to learn about, to strive and plan for? Only you can decide.

So, can you do this for free? Sure! Before you do, I encourage you to read extensively on the subject of press releases. It appears to me, at least, that it is difficult to write a good release... one that will be picked up by the news sources and redistributed.  Am I going to try? You bet! But as with any new endeavor, it will be a learning process, and I will be patient while I adjust to that learning curve.And when I can afford it, I will give Sophie, at PRWeb, a call.

Here are some good ideas for reading, as well as a free press release submission service. Keep in mind, I haven't even tried it on my own yet, so I will certainly not guarantee your results.

3 comments:

CurioCache said...

WOW! You have such a knack for clear explanations - I think that YOU should be the one writing the press releases (I'd sure be glad to pay ya!!)

grouchow said...

Man, you certainly did some homework on this post. You should be writing for a newspaper. Sure you didn't in another life?? You would write a great press release. Nice.

Fleapirates said...

Wow, thank you, ladies!

Sophie is responsible for most of what I have learned about Press Releases... and the rest? Research, research, research! lol

Hope you think about what press releases might do for YOUR business!

And thanks for always being the first to read my posts! :)