The Benefits of Online Media Release Distribution
The goals of traditional media releases--increasing an organization’s visibility and credibility and announcing news are now equally as important as newer goals that traditional media releases cannot accomplish. These goals include:
Reaching prospects directly
Search engine optimization
Maximizing content distribution online
As opposed to traditional media releases, which are a channel for communicating only with the media; online media releases reach both the media and the public directly.
There is currently no more cost-effective tool for quickly building and maintaining the online visibility that is critical for success in today’s market than strategically written, optimized, and distributed media releases. The key word here is strategic.
It has taken us more than a decade to fine tune this methodology for leveraging releases—and we are continually tweaking it. Part of the reason we have been so much more successful than other marketing organizations is that we have the advantage of regularly developing and distributing releases for multiple clients. Tracking a large volume of releases every month helps us continually identify and adjust for ever-changing elements of the Google algorithm without having to speculate. For our clients, this means that they have a significant advantage when it comes to search results for key terms that are relevant for their markets.
In many cases, large competitors of our clients are paying for AdWords in the same space where our clients’ releases are appearing organically.
The releases that we create accomplish everything Google AdWords accomplish—enhancing visibility and driving traffic to the website—for a fraction of the cost. They have the additional advantage of credibility and they accomplish much, much more.
Capturing New Leads
Our goal is to place our clients on the first page of search results for terms that are relevant to their products and services. We conduct a search term review once a month in order to see where the client ranks for the approximately 30 terms that we have identified. The results are factored into the decisions we make about terms for the coming month. It’s important to bear in mind that search rank isn’t forever. As soon as companies stop using the term regularly, the rank will begin to drop. How quickly it drops depend on a number of factors, such as competition and the news cycle.
Research conducted by Google’s for its ebook Zero Moment of Truth concluded that today the average buyer of high end (not basic consumer) products is already at least 70% of the way toward making a final decision by the time they first contact the seller. And they come this far in the decision-making process by performing an online search for relevant key terms and then inspecting the websites of companies they are interested in.
All of this means that being in relevant search space is not optional; it is an imperative for running a successful business today.
Nurturing Existing Leads
Research shows that anyone thinking about doing business with you or working for you—i.e. people you met at an event--will research your company online to see how credible you are before they call. They do this by:
Performing an online search on your company name; where releases will appear in results and boost credibility.
Inspecting your website: where they will see PDFs of releases that received national attention and also a list of links to releases picked up by national news outlets.
Reviewing your LinkedIn Company Page, where they will see regular updates with releases attached.
By fully leveraging media releases, everywhere these existing leads look to find out more about your company will increase your credibility and incentivize them to make direct contact.
Controlling the Marketing Message
Another benefit of online release distribution is that the company controls the message. When releases go directly to media outlets, they are rewritten and stripped of anything that looks like advertising or marketing. There is an advertising line that digital releases can’t cross either, but it’s much less severe. Online releases are typically published either exactly as they are submitted or rewritten only slightly to conform to the outlet’s guidelines.
Maintaining Contact with Social Media Followers
Digital releases effortlessly maintain regular contact with social media followers. When the release is submitted for distribution, there is an option for alerting followers.
One of the benefits of online release distribution that is often overlooked is a significant increase in inbound links. The number and especially the quality of inbound links are primary parameters that search engines use to rank websites. Higher profile websites, (even the release distribution site itself) that link back to a website increase the importance of the site they link to. approximately 2/3 of all visible inbound links to our clients’ sites are connected to release distribution.
One of the release distribution services we use allows us to choose a 2nd country for distribution; the other service does not. But even then, releases are getting limited pickups by international search engines through RSS feeds of U.S. publications. So we are seeing these releases come up in European and Asian search results. Note that general distribution throughout Europe is an option.
Connecting with Current and Prospective Partners
Most larger companies monitor media mentions daily through programmed alerts. Adding the name of a channel partner strategically to a release will put your company on their radar.
They are Remarkably Cost Effective
There isn’t any other marketing tool that can accomplish all of this for a fraction of the cost of a typical AdWord campaign. In fact, we find that our clients usually abandon or significantly reduce dependence on Google AdWords quickly after we start working with them. Google is not losing out; these releases are providing the foundational content that allows Google to balance their ads with credible organic search results. Google needs the content our releases provide.
So What Results Will You Notice?
More and more people in your market will know who you are and what you do.
People that contact you will be surprisingly educated about your products and services.
Bigger channel partners will start giving your company a second look.
You will see evidence that more people are visiting your website: i.e. your website rank will steadily rise.
Your sales reps are doing less selling and more closing.
Leads are better qualified
Although most people won’t say that they researched your company, some will say that they found you via search.
According to a survey conducted by The Society for New Communications Research, the most frequently mentioned criterion for evaluating the success of online press releases was:
The number of media outlets that picked up the release (79.6%)
The number of times the release has been viewed online (76.8%)
An article based on the release (75.4%)
Media interview requests as a result of the release (74.2%)
While the majority of media outlets that pick up releases do so via their RSS feeds, these outlets often use their feeds as a source for news. More importantly, Google News picks up every release and they will pick it up within minutes of distribution. This means no more waiting for Google to get around to finding the release on your website—which can take weeks. We recently conducted a test and witnessed this ourselves—the release was distributed by the service we use at 1 p.m.; Google picked it up and posted it in search results at 1:06.
Another major advantage is that the distribution service—per their contract—maintains the release on their own website for at least 2 years. This means that release has the potential to come up in search results for 2 years. During this time, media outlets will go to the distribution site looking for news. This is where we see secondary pick-ups by major industry publications.
Why We Like Our Distribution Services
We have been working with one distribution service almost exclusively since 2010 and a newer service since 2016. Every year, when these contracts come up for renewal we perform an extensive review of all credible release distribution sites. What we find is that there are no other services that come close for the following reasons:
These distribution services are near the top in site traffic: One service has more site traffic than PRnewsire, Businesswire and Marketwired—3 competitors that charge anywhere from 4 to 6 times more per release.
They have some content flexibility—they understand not all releases will involve hard news and accommodate this.
They work hard to continuously satisfy their clients and improve their services. They are genuinely interested in maximizing the impact of releases.
They work very closely with Google to head off issues involving algorithm updates.
They produce a decent (not perfect) report after every release
THE BOTTOM LINE:
ASK YOURSELF: IS THERE A BETTER WAY FOR PROSPECTS THAT DON’T KNOW WE EXIST TO FIND US?