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Are Press Releases Still Relevant B2B Marketing Tools?

Posted by Sean O'Neil on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

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Writing press releases on keyboardYou may think of press releases as a last resort with so many other public relations and content marketing options at your fingertips, but press releases are still highly valuable marketing tools, despite being around a lot longer than the term, “content marketing.”

Why do some people believe that press releases aren’t as effective as they used to be?

Mass Distribution

The mass distribution of press releases can make them seem too perfunctory to be important, in spite of the fact that every major company on the planet still produces and distributes press releases. Press release distribution companies, which tend to do little for medium-size and smaller companies but grant them spikes in website visitor stats that are short-lived and don’t yield any real fruit, can make press releases seem like obligatory rather than proactive marketing tools. Today, it is not unusual for marketing directors to refer to press releases as a quick way to gain a few more Google links (that often only show up when people perform a limited variety of the same type of search) rather than as a way to deliver their messages to established, respected media outlets purposefully, with the expectation that the press releases will result in new, credible articles and stories.

Marc Harty points out on the 30 Minute PR website that including evergreen content within your press release can make using a mass distribution service more worthwhile. He explains that “when journalists are performing research for a story, they turn to the same place we do for the information: the search engines. In so doing, it’s possible to get media coverage days, weeks, months, even years after your release was originally submitted.”

It’s all about the content. A truly effective press release is more than an SEO tool; it is a way to gain credible media coverage from actual magazines and other reputable media outlets. If you write and distribute your press releases with only SEO in mind, you won’t get all of the really valuable publicity you could be getting. If instead you focus your content on the needs and interests of actual people—namely, reporters and editors and their audiences—your press releases will do a lot more for you than simply increase your Google listings.

Getting Back to Press Release Basics

Have you lost sight of press release basics? Do you treat your press releases as things that will only help you obtain a few more Google listings? Does the content within your press releases reflect your desire to promote your latest facility opening, service or success rather than focus on what your latest facility opening, service or success might mean to your current audience and the prospects you want to reach? Have you stopped trying to write press releases that editors and reporters won’t be able to ignore?

An effective press release gives editors and reporters all of the information they need to write their own summaries and opinions of your news, whether you’re announcing a new product, partner, acquisition or other piece of news. It tells them what inspired a new product, the reason a new partner was brought on board, the benefits the new partner will bring to your company, stakeholders and customers, why a new acquisition is important to not only your company, but to certain sectors and to your existing customer base and potential customers, and so on. It doesn’t contain a lot of hype; instead, it contains facts, figures, statistics and quotes from major players that can be repurposed and used by the media to generate new articles.

Before you send out your next press release, ask yourself whether the content is merely SEO-driven, or if the content actually targets the people you want to reach. Ask: Am I merely making an announcement, or I am giving real people reasons to believe my announcement is relevant and newsworthy?

The mass distribution of press releases isn’t a bad thing until it becomes a higher priority than your press release content. Generate content that is as strategic or more strategic than your distribution plan, and you’ll never catch yourself wondering whether or not press releases are still relevant B2B marketing tools; it will be evident that they are worth the time and effort you put into them.

Topics: marketing, content marketing, e-marketing

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