When was the last time you sent out a press release about your business or products? Do you even have a Media page on your website? Do you think there’s any value to sending out press releases about your business?
While I don’t know about your opinion concerning marketing to the media, I can tell you from my own experience that sending out press releases on a regular basis has helped launch my business and played a vital role in growing it into a multi-million dollar success.
Regularly writing and sending out press releases gave my products millions of dollars worth of advertising for free, provided outstanding third-party endorsements, squashed the competition, created a ton of sales leads… and positioned my products in the eyes of my prospects. I’ve used the power of publicity to successfully promote all kinds of products and services in more industries than I can count.
Now if you’re thinking that planning and carrying out a publicity campaign to the media has to be time-consuming and difficult, think again. It’s actually easier than most people think. After all, there are hundreds of consumer and trade magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations, and websites out there starving for content. If you can provide content that’s worth reading, you won’t have any trouble getting your releases published.
Before you start sending out your releases, take some time to research the TV or radio stations, websites, newspapers and magazines on your target list. Make sure your release will be of interest to their audiences.
And before I go any further, I want to make a subtle but important distinction here. For the purposes of this article, when I refer to a press release or media release, I’m referring to basically the same thing. If you want to get nit-picky, a “press release” is sent to print publications (magazines and newspapers), whereas a media release is sent to TV, radio, and Internet sites. For the purposes of this article, though, they’re pretty much interchangeable.
More Options Than Ever
Not too long ago, if you wanted to benefit from sending out press releases you had to identify media outlets, and then attempt to get an overworked and underpaid reporter or editor to pick up your story. It was a long and arduous process.
Even if you hired a PR firm, you still were left trying to target journalists and media outlets to run with your releases. Fortunately, today you can benefit from online media sources that post and distribute your releases to millions instantly.
It’s important to note that not all of the rules have changed for getting free publicity.The benefits remain virtually the same. You’re leveraging the resources of other media sources to reach prospects for much less money than advertising.
The main difference between “the good old days” and now is that back then you had little to no control over which releases were selected and how much of the release actually got published. Now, thanks to online PR services, your press release automatically becomes web content, which means it has a much better chance at automatically becoming news, and more importantly, helping prospects find you or your website.
Before you start writing your releases, create a publicity plan. Develop a clear understanding of your target audience. Who are they? Are they consumers or trade professionals? What do they need? What magazines or newspapers or websites do they read? Try to define their demographics and lifestyle using your current customer database.
Next, make a list of your core messages and ideas. For example the problems, solutions, and topics related to your products and services. What problems can you help customers solve? Why should they care? How can you entertain and inform them at the same time?
As an example, recently my company launched a new membership site called ProfitRichMarketing.com membership site. It’s a website that’s focused on all things related to marketing to help our clients grow their businesses. We wanted to drive traffic, generate leads, gain subscribers and get higher rankings in the search engines so that our prospects could find us when they are searching for specific keyword terms.
We started the process by creating a publicity plan and answering the same questions I posed a little earlier. Our goal was to reach business owners, marketing directors, entrepreneurs, sales people and anyone else who wanted to learn how to promote and use marketing methods effectively.
We knew that our prospects weren’t searching to join a content membership site, but that they would be searching for solutions, for tips, tactics, strategies and techniques related to understanding marketing, sales, promotion and publicity.
So we created press releases and articles that were newsworthy (not self-promoting “commercials”), and filled them with keyword-rich search terms. We included hyperlinks back to us, and even a tagline about our company.
We published our media releases on our own websites and we sent them to various press release distribution services. I’m sure you understand the concept of posting it to your site… just get your webmaster to create a section on your site with clear navigation and links with the keywords, titles and topics of your press releases.
There are basically two types of press release distribution services available to you. The first type is distribution services that specialize in getting your press releases out to lots of different Internet sites. This helps you reach thousands of people almost instantly because listings get automatically sent to Google News, Yahoo News and others.
Your search engine rankings improve too when you include hyperlinks back to your site from your releases because in-bound links are a weighted component of the search-engine rankings algorithms.
The other type of distribution service focuses on getting your release into the hands of media decision-makers. While some distribution services claim to do both, usually you’ll have to use more than one service and track the results. I don’t endorse any particular service, but you can find several on Google or Yahoo just by searching for “News Release Services.”
Remember, editors aren’t interested in helping you make money or driving traffic to your site. They’re looking for a story that will sell issues or boost subscriptions. Maintain a media database of your contacts as you go along.
The real benefit isn’t just when your stories or articles get published, but when you get copies of all media features and use them to beef up your other marketing efforts.
To find out how much this kind of free publicity is worth, ask your contact what the comparable cost in paid advertising would have been in air time, column inches, etc., and multiply that amount by three (because of credibility) to reach an estimated value of your publicity. When you do this, you’ll see how that “free publicity” can suddenly be worth millions!