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Press Releases Don’t Work

By:   Date posted: November 2, 2012

pr-doesn't-workGrowing trends in marketing revolve around the idea that it’s more exciting to engage with your market than to see your name splashed across advertising materials. Because of this industry-wide trend, companies that update traditional practices and add new ones are gaining a huge leg up on the competition.

So are those using traditional tactics in traditional ways falling behind?

The Slow Demise of Press Releases

Traditional press releases certainly have their time and place — especially in relation to a launch of a business, product, service or event. While they often create an initial buzz, press releases lack the ability to engage and create momentum. Unless the press release gets picked up organically by reporters who write original stories about it, the press release itself can actually be viewed by Google as duplicate content and lead to dings.

Despite the positives, press releases are becoming less relevant because they can hurt your brand rather than help it. A press release is a method of begging an industry professional to write about a company without providing anything in return.

How to Help Yourself

While it certainly depends on your end goals, target market and strategy, there are a few tactics that can truly gain authority through marketing:

Getting Articles Published: Publishing content articles with your byline is one of the best ways to add value. With content coming from you, you’re able to keep your voice and control the message, making it much easier to offer expertise. When it comes to thought leadership and exposure, you — not reporters or media outlets — should be in the driver’s seat.

Garnering Endorsements or Recommendations: Endorsements and recommendations can boost your credibility with potential clients and customers. A third-party opinion resonates more deeply with someone on the fence. Don’t be shy about asking for these. If you’ve put in the hard work for your customers, they’ll be happy to take five minutes of their day to show appreciation. LinkedIn makes it easy to gain recommendations from your colleagues; the site’s new endorsement buttons also simplify the experience of awarding a compliment. These recommendations can be utilized on your website/marketing materials (with permission).

Obtaining Mentions or Quotes: While mentions and quotes don’t have the same value as a full article for thought leadership and engagement, they’re a great source of exposure. Try utilizing Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to share your expertise with media outlets that are looking for expert contributions to articles.

You need to build yourself as an industry expert and thought leader through proven, natural methods rather than handing the baton off and hoping your press release gains traction with your message still intact.

Content is King

Now more than ever, content is king. Thought leaders without consistent, quality content should expect a decline in attention and authority. Google is penalizing duplicate content and link building, but they’re also rewarding organic links earned through legitimate content. With the digitization of every form of thought leadership, the experts who are sharing their insights are capitalizing on true engagement with their target markets.

It’s more about quality than quantity. If you’re producing a small amount of quality content on a consistent basis, you’re better off than someone pumping copious amounts of content out at a frantic pace. The goal isn’t to reach the most people or get into the largest publications. The goal should be to truly resonate with those who lie within your market. By providing two articles in reputable publications each month, you’ll see your brand leveraged up.

Engagement is the true measure of where content is headed. It’s no longer about unique visitors or traffic — it’s about who is actually engaging with your brand. The new direction marketing and publicity are going can either really help your brand or hurt it. If you’re not offering valuable insights, you will be one of many weeded out of the industry discussion.

Don’t underestimate your audience’s intelligence. Engagement is directly correlated with authenticity, so offer expertise; don’t worry about being promotional. True relationship building will lead to more loyal customers. If you push promotional content — like what most press releases offer — you run the risk of being rightfully called out for your lack of value and engagement.

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Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President at Influence & Co., a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications. You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @OConnellRyan or on Google+.

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