The web has changed the rules about marketing. Buyers and customers can now read your news releases directly and within minutes of you making an announcement. Today, savvy business owners use press releases to reach their buyers directly. This article will show you how to make the most of issuing press releases on the Internet so that you can reach millions more potential customers.
Introduction to Press Releases
The press release is one of the most powerful promotional tools there is. With smart distribution, a press release could get your business lots of publicity.
A press release is simply a newsworthy story about you or your business. Reporters might want to print your press release or they may be interested in interviewing to assist in a story they are working on.
Why Do Press Releases Still Work?
Press releases have been around since the early 1900s. With newspaper readership on the decline, you might think that the press release’s heyday has come and gone. But in reality, the increased speed at which information travels online has made press releases more useful than ever.
Editors of offline publications are busy people. They spend a great deal of time searching for news stories and assigning journalists to write them. Press releases can save them time by alerting them to potential news stories. And if they are written properly, they can be published as-is with little or no editing. This is especially helpful if they have page space to fill on a tight deadline.
Those who edit online publications also have tight schedules. If they receive a good press release via email, they can simply cut and paste it for an instant story. Even if they decide to add to it, most of the work is already done for them.
Many bloggers like press releases, too. Mainstream bloggers use press releases in the same way as media professionals. Personal and part-time bloggers often use them when they’re short on time but still want to give their readers content on a regular basis.
Press releases are just as important today as they were when print publications were the primary sources of news. A good press release can go a long way in promoting your business.
So where and should you submit your press releases? Here are two resources that will help get your business noticed: HARO and PRWeb.
How HARO (“Help a Report Out”) Works
Being quoted by the media is one of the best ways to establish yourself and your business as an expert in your field. Unfortunately, the average small business owner simply doesn’t have the connections it takes to be on the radar of popular bloggers, never mind the mainstream media. But thanks to HARO (http://helpareporterout.com), those connections are no longer a necessity.
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It was founded in 2008 by Peter Shankman as a Facebook group that connected journalists with sources. It later transitioned into a mailing list. HARO was acquired by Vocus, Inc. in 2010. In addition to the free mailing list, they began to offer paid membership options with additional features.
HARO boasts connections with over 100,000 news sources. Agencies that have used the service include FOX, ABC News, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
How it Works
HARO is free for reporters to use. All they have to do is create an account to start submitting queries. There are certain rules that apply. These include:
The site for which they are submitting a query must have an Alexa ranking of one million or lower. Outlets that charge a subscription fee to users to view all content may not use the service.
- The reporter may not ask for content of more than 300 words.
- The name of the publication or website must be included in the query; however, the reporter may request that this information not be made available to sources.
- The only television station and verified print media representatives may request product samples, and all samples must be returned to the sender at the reporter’s expense.
- Reporters may not ask sources for any type of monetary compensation, including compensation for travel expenses.
- All information from sources must be received via the on-site submission process.
- Reporters can ask sources to appear in a video, but they may not ask them to submit a prerecorded video.
Anyone can sign up as a source and submit responses to queries. It’s up to the journalist to decide whether each source meets his or her needs. All members receive PR opportunities via email three times per day and have access to email support, but you can pay for an advanced level of service.
Paid memberships entitle users to certain advanced features. They can set filters that provide opportunities based on keyword preferences and create profiles that may be viewed by journalists. They can also search the online database for relevant opportunities and opt to receive text alerts. Advanced and premium members get alerts early and have the ability to set up additional profiles, and premium members are entitled to phone support.
How to Get the Most out of HARO
HARO is a wonderful tool for gaining exposure for your business and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. It levels the playing field for small business owners who would otherwise have a hard time making media connections. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your HARO membership.
- Consider a paid membership. They start at just $19 a month, which is within the budget of most small business owners. It’s entirely possible to get publicity with a free membership, but the ability to search the database alone is worth paying for.
- Respond as quickly as possible. There are tens of thousands of HARO users, so if you see a query that interests you, it’s important to act quickly. Waiting until later to respond could cost you a great opportunity.
- Read queries carefully before responding. Sometimes the requester asks for specific information. The reporter will likely receive numerous responses, and those that lack the information he or she needs will probably be weeded out first.
- Respond only to queries that are a good fit for you and your business. If the reporter is looking for a source with qualifications that you do not have, move on to the next query. If you waste a reporter’s time, he may delete your next pitch before even reading it.
- Focus on what you can do for the journalist, not what the journalist can do for you. Try to include all the information he needs in the initial response, and avoid asking questions until you’ve heard back unless you need clarification.
- Resist the urge to tell your life story. Reporters aren’t usually looking for a full bio. Stick to the information that is specifically requested in your response. If they want to know more, they will ask.
- Be sure to include your name and contact information. This seems obvious, but it’s an easy thing to overlook. Include a phone number if possible, because some journalists prefer communicating by phone rather than email.
Used well, HARO can gain exposure for your business that’s far more valuable than any paid advertising. And once you’ve built a reputation as a reliable source, even more, media opportunities could come your way.
How PRWeb Works
Press releases are among the most powerful publicity tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. They are far less expensive than advertising – in fact, if you do your own writing and submissions, they are absolutely free. However, sometimes it is worth paying for a good press release distribution service if you want to make sure your release gets maximum visibility.
PRWeb.com is one of the most popular press release distribution services around. Launched in 1997, the company has built relationships with thousands of blogs and online news outlets and all of the major search engines. It is the most visited press release website in the world.
Submitting through PRWeb gets your press release placed on their website, indexed by Google and Bing, placed on major news sites such as Google News, Yahoo News and Topix, and sent to media subscribers.
Among PRWeb’s customers are such household names as Southwest Airlines, but the service is available to businesses large and small. Those who have never written a press release before can find lots of helpful information in the site’s Learning Center section. You can even compose your releases using a template with step-by-step instructions. Or if you prefer, you can pay PRWeb’s editors to write a release for you.
PRWeb Distribution Packages
PRWeb offers packages starting at $159 per press release (at the time of publication). The following features are included in all packages:
- Placement of your release on the PRWeb website
- Indexing of your release by Google and Bing
- Placement on major news sites such as Yahoo News and Topix
- Placement on industry news feeds
- Placement on regional news feeds
- Distribution to media subscribers
- Enhanced blogger visibility
- Placement on media lists
The Advanced and Premium packages offer additional features such as:
- Placement on additional news feeds and media lists
- Placement on premium websites
- National distribution through the Associated Press
- Placement on local news sites
- Automatic Twitter posting
- Anchor text links
- Custom URLs
- Search optimized images
- Embedded video
- Next day distribution
Customers can also purchase additional features and services such as release editing and revision, rush distribution, enhanced placement on PRWeb.com, search engine optimization and distribution to media digests.
What Happens Next?
Once you’ve submitted your press release through PRWeb, you don’t have to just sit back and wait for others to read it. Each customer has access to tracking tools that let them know exactly how well their release is performing. You can see how many times your release is read, how many headline impressions it gets, which media outlets receive it, how many times it is shared in social media, how readers find it through search engines and more.
Strategies for Success with PRWeb
PRWeb is an outstanding tool for business owners who are looking for publicity. But there are some things you can do to increase your press release’s chances for success:
- Write a release that will get readers’ attention. If you write a mediocre release, distributing it through PRWeb won’t magically make it more newsworthy. It’s just as important as ever to craft an attention-grabbing headline and write a release that media outlets will want to use. Take advantage of all the help that’s available for free at PRWeb.com to write a great release, or hire a professional to write one for you.
- Choose the best package for your needs. The Standard distribution package is sufficient for many small business owners. If it has everything you need, there’s no point in paying for a more expensive package. However, higher priced packages offer features that are particularly helpful for certain types of users. Weigh your options carefully so that you get the highest possible return on your investment.
- Use social media to spread the word once your release is published. Include a link to the release on PRWeb.com. Your announcement could make it to bloggers or members of the media that are not regular PRWeb users, giving you additional exposure.
- Let bloggers in your industry know about your release. Send them a personal message letting them know that you think your press release might be a good fit for their blog and include a link. They might use it for a post or even contact you for an interview.
- Link to the release from your blog or website. This can serve a number of purposes. For new or relatively unknown businesses, it lends credibility to your site. It can help your release’s search engine rankings. And if a blogger or member of the media lands on your site, it gives them a link to your latest news.
- Use what you learn from one release’s performance to improve the next one. Pay special attention to the keywords your audience is using to find your release, and make sure to use them in your next release if possible. If your release fails to perform well, think about what you can do differently next time around.
Using PRWeb is a surefire way to get your press release in front of more media eyes. If you take the time to create a well-written and newsworthy release, bloggers and reporters will take notice.
If They Find You, They Will Come.
No matter how large or small your business is, the fact is, you can make your site popular and successful very quickly by issuing well-timed, and well-crafted press releases.
We are a company that specializes in helping small to medium-sized local companies just like yours. As a result, we can help drive a lot of traffic and new customers to your website. Contact us today, to see what we can do for your business.