Using Press Releases as an Online Media Visibility Tool

In our recent blog posting Cost of Writing a Press Release? An hour. Value? Priceless, we discussed how a single press release sent over our Direct2Net wire service resulted in us selling an membership. Using press releases as a lead generating marketing tactic, marketers are now realizing that press releases sent via wire services can be effective online visibility activities that generate sales leads. In other words, whether a journalist actually finds the release or responds to it is secondary in importance.


Traditionally, the main purpose of a press release was to get the attention of a journalist which would hopefully lead to media coverage. This in turn would impact how the release was written. It had to be newsworthy and could not be too promotional. These rules are of less importance for "marketing" releases sent only via a wire service for the primary purpose of generating leads. Journalists may still find your release when using the Internet for research and story ideas, but this is icing on the cake and is not the main objective of Internet marketing releases.

The primary benefit of using any major press release wire service is to get your release on the Internet. In doing so, the release gets posted to major Internet news portals and search engines and, depending on which wire service you use, it may be converted to RSS and result in thousands of other distribution outlets including niche web sites, eNewsletters, blogs, news aggregators, etc. The end result is the release gets in front of many of your prospects (buyers); it's certainly a numbers game. We recently learned of a consumer goods company that posted one press release a week to the Internet for several consecutive months, resulting in a steady stream of customers to their website and of course increased sales. Try sending a journalist one press release a week and see what happens (not good, by the way).

As increasing numbers of consumers and B2B buyers use the Internet to "shop", this strategy becomes more effective and important. And, it is affordable. The more online news you can generate, the more likely you will get "picked up" by these online outlets, get noticed by your buyers and influence your search engine rankings. However, not all wire release services are affordable so do your homework. For example, HRmarketer's Direct2Net wire service will give your press release as much online exposure as PR Newswire for less than half the cost.

Are we suggesting increasing the number of press releases you send? Yes and no. Yes, we are recommending increasing to at least once or twice per month sending Internet-only press releases. No, we are not recommending you increase the number of press releases sent direct to journalists (keep them to about one per month).

Here's the difference: Internet-only releases do not include an introductory "pitch", but do include imbedded hyperlinks to your web site, and are written more for your buyers than for the press. Releases sent to journalists are less promotional and pitched to what's important and of interest for the respective journalist/publication receiving the release.

So start spinnin'...