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Stand Out: The Power of the Press Release

The following post on press releases as a way to promote your blog is by Eric Reynolds of Subnixus PR Services.

press-releases.jpgIn the past, savvy PR professionals used press releases to hopefully bring their clients a little media exposure. The process was long and drawn out, with the ultimate goal being, well, media coverage. However, the days of a press release being used solely for a newsworthy announcement are long gone. Why? The Web has changed what a press release can be…

Before I explain how a press release can benefit you as a blogger, let me give you a little background on myself. A few years ago I ran a small blog by the name of Subnixus (sold long ago) and decided to do a test. I had just recently learned about press releases and figured I would put one out on myself and post the results. I honestly didn’t expect much, but to my amazement a single press release resulted in dozens of television, newspaper, and radio interviews. Overnight my blog went from a few hundred readers, to a few thousand.

That single press release eventually led me to start my own PR firm and PR based blog.

While not all press releases are going get your face on the nightly news, they can serve another purpose.

How to Reach New Readers and Improve Your SEO at the Same Time

Thanks to the Internet, a press release can now be seen by the general public without ever even being touched by a journalist. Sites like Google News and Yahoo News are constantly updating their search results with fresh press releases from sites like PRWeb. So what does that mean to you, the new blogger just looking for a little attention?

Simply put it means you can reach thousands of (potentially) new readers, overnight. When you distribute your release via a place like PRWeb, hundreds of other sites re-publish your release via the PRWeb RSS feed. Not only does this mean more places for new readers to find your content, but it means more backlinks to your site (yes a press release can include links). And don’t forget, if you do it right your release will also appear in Google News, Yahoo News, Topix, etc… just to name a few.

Should You Hire a Professional or Do It Yourself?

This is a question I hear a lot and there’s no simple answer. While I could sit here and say you should hire a professional (like myself) to create your release and distribute it, the truth is anyone can do it, but like anything it takes a little work on your part. However, I do have some good news… unlike a traditional press release, a Web based release doesn’t have the same strict guidelines that must be followed. For the most part, you just need to remember a few basic rules.

1. Format it correctly. This page shows how a press release needs to be written.

2. It’s all about the headline. Just like a link submission to a site such as Digg.com, a press release needs to have a good headline and first paragraph if it’s going to create any buzz. Your press release could be the recipe for chicken soup, but if your headline is catchy, people will read it.

3. Keep it short. Remember, you want the people reading your press release to click on a link within the release to visit your site. Don’t put more information in the release than needed. It’s meant to peak their interest and leave them wanting more. Try to shoot for the 250-500 word range.

How Much Does it Cost?

Ahh… the big question. How much does a press release cost? Well there are plenty of free distributors out there. Places like PR.com and and PRLog.org will distribute them free of charge, but there are some drawbacks. PR.com doesn’t allow live links in their releases unless you pay a fee. And while PRLog allows links, they don’t have near the reach as other sites. Free sites may get you in Google News (and that’s about it), but in the long run it’s really not worth it. Furthermore, I’ve never seen a free release get more than a few backlinks.

So that leaves us with a paid distributor. My distributor of choice is obviously PRWeb, their reach in terms of RSS re-publishers and news sites just can’t be beat. The average PRWeb release will receive around 100-500 backlinks within a week and it will appear in every major news search site.

PRWeb charges $80 for their basic level and it goes up from there, but the basic level is good enough for any blogger just looking for a little boost. In fact, if you really know your stuff, you can get away with only paying $40 for distribution, as long as you get an editorial score of 4/5 from their editors.

Conclusion and Examples

So in conclusion I would urge everyone who’s serious about their blog to at least try a press release (free or paid). You might just be surprised at the results. For people looking for a few examples, here are a few I’ve done in the past few months.

An Example of a Release Getting Media Coverage

Here’s the release: Blogger Saves 18 Homes From Foreclosure in Less Than 6 Months With His Web Site and here’s the result: CBS News coverage.

An Example of the SEO Benefits of a Release

Here’s the release: SEOmeter.com Unveils Their New Google Crawl Tool and here’s the result: A Google search of the headline “SEOmeter.com Unveils Their New Google Crawl Tool” shows 750 listings, with a large portion of those containing backlinks.

So there you have it… The Press Release; a valuable tool that too many bloggers overlook.

***

Eric Reynolds is a long time blogger and the owner of Subnixus PR Services. He is also the sole author behind PRunderground.com.

p.s. – Some of you may recognize my name or site. Long time readers of ProBlogger might remember an article I wrote a long time ago calling blogs that focus on “making money online” infomercials. Well, after writing that article I did sell off my own blog (don’t be confused if you see it online, the person I sold it to never changed the “about me” section, so the site still looks like it’s ran by me, but it is not), but as you can see… I never stopped reading ProBlogger. Take that for what it’s worth.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I have built a lot of lists over time. One is a list of press release sites. It is the only one I haven’t used myself. I just was never really sure how to go about it or what would be newsworthy enough to actually release. So I just left the idea of a press release on the back burner. Thanks for the examples too. Have any more?

  2. Fascinating post — many thanks, Eric. I’ve been considering writing a press release for my blog (The Office Diet) for a while, but didn’t know whether it would be worth the effort.

    I’m going to follow your advice above and give it a go now. :-)

    Thanks again,

    Ali

  3. Kara says:

    I was an editor at several magazines, and press releases were definitely valuable to us for finding new story ideas. It made our jobs easier because there was always a stack of possibilities we could turn to. Even if the topic of a certain release didn’t warrant coverage, I would keep it on file to follow up with the company/person later to find another angle that might work for me. Press releases were also very helpful for discovering news from non-local areas, since we usually always worked from the office and did very little traveling!

  4. I had never considered a press release as something a blogger could do. A key take out from me though is probably something more general, the importance of the headline. This is something which I need to work on in general for my blog. As always a thought provoking post for me – thanks!

  5. Thanks for info, i will check prweb, looks like great coverage!

  6. I have thought some time about doing a press release for a few of my sites, but was never sure if it would really help. I guess the best medicine is to just try it out and see right?

  7. suresh says:

    Great post.

    Explained the impotence of press release well.

    But i would like to know does trying a paid press release is a good choice for bloggers who is getting a little money ?

  8. John Jantsch says:

    Eric,

    Well said – press releases in general have taken on a renewed use when applied systematically and leveraged with social media tools.

    I put together a free too that walks people through the creation of one page press releases, in a fill in the blank fashion, and then formats it for them. Feel free to pass this on
    http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/Instant-Press-Release.htm

  9. Bruce says:

    Good post Eric, cheers. Much food for thought there.

    Shannon Whitley has built a great tool called PRX Builder: social media optimised press releases.

    http://www.prxbuilder.com

    Also, another free distribution service is PRLeap.com

  10. etavitom says:

    Thanks for the wisdom. I remember how “monumental” my first press release seemed, now it’s pretty much routine. All the best, Brad

  11. Charles says:

    Enjoyed the post Eric.

    I have often considered press releases for some of my sites or blogs but have never taken the time to look deeper into it.

    I’ll have to do some homework on it now.

  12. Jesse Hines says:

    Great idea. I wrote press releases back when I did a public relations internship at a non-profit. So, I have a good idea on how to write one.

    Now, I think I’ll come up with a good angle and try it out. This could be one of the cheapest, yet most effective (if done well) sources of major advertising a blogger can get.

    Definitely worth a shot.

  13. MR says:

    Very strange and funny idea. I can’t see myself or any blogger doing a press release.

  14. Congratulations, Eric, on your success. I feel compelled to defend the PR profession a bit, though, since those of us who have worked in PR for a long time often fight the perception that public relations is solely about media coverage. PR is about much more than media relations; in a nutshell, it’s about eliciting behavior, and media coverage is just one of the tools PR professionals use.

    One other thing: I’m not sure I agree that just anyone can write an effective press release. Even if a release is going to be Web based, it still should be well written and compelling.

    Thanks for the SEO tips, though. I have much to learn about this area!

  15. Adam says:

    PR web is pretty oversaturated with releases…

    just FYI to all of you, putting a release on there (or on any wire service) does NOT guarantee results

    in fact, just the opposite – so many people are releasing press releases right now, unless you’ve got something really special, you’ll never see more the lukewarm results

  16. Good read I will definitely give a press release a try!

  17. Bleach says:

    Believe it or not, Eric, I still remember you from DP. It must be fate that this is only your 2nd post on problogger and I bump into it! Considering I dont read problogger (dont hit me!) very often, it is surprising. :)

    And guess what, I’m using your Subnixus wordpress theme on some of my blogs.

    On topic, yup sounds like I definitely must try press releases soon!

  18. bugsy says:

    I’m not sure why anyone would pay to have their press releases distributed, at least not pay anymore than postage, but these days it’s all done electronically.

    It’s amazing what a little digging can do. Find the name of some editors, some reporters, contact them directly, they’re always looking for stories.

    And if you’re looking to get published, contact the editor.

    My first every press release I got a 3.0 on in college. That same press release made the AP wire.

    It doesn’t take much at all, you simply have to do it, and I can assure you that not many of your competitors are.

  19. Some say that some press release sites are free to use, But i don’t know how to use them. And every time i want release my article, they ask me pay first. Can anyone give me some true free press release sites?

    Thank you very much!

  20. Bruce says:

    Bugsy, you’re right: just do it. But be careful of ‘spitching’ (or spramming) editors – they don’t like it ;-)

  21. Jason says:

    Thanks for the informative article on an option for blog promotion that I hadn’t even considered as an option. I’m almost to the point of having enough content on my site to start promoting it and have been researching available avenues. You have given me one more to travel.

    Thanks!

  22. Chris Auman says:

    Press releases are great and well worth the small investment if you do it right. This post is a great reminder to get-er-done. A friend of mine crafted a press release recently and he received some amazing press on the Inc.com site plus a pretty substantial increase in traffic.

    John, thanks for the nice resource!

    Bruce, thanks for adding the link to prleap.com. Good stuff.

  23. We are doing more and more PR and buzz creation to drive links to our clients sites. As you can see by the number of comments you have received already, it’s a medium many are interested in.

    Good post, I bookmarked your two sites for future use.

  24. Alda says:

    Hi Eric and thanks for a very interesting, informative post.

    I have a blog in a fairly under-represented niche that I’m hoping to grow. Occasionally I blog about stories from that niche, that have (accidentally) attracted worldwide attention. I now see that I could easily have generated that traffic myself with targeted press releases. However, I am confused on one point: if (e.g.) PRWeb does not allow html to be embedded in the press release, how can I drive traffic to my blog, or – more specifically – to a particular blog post?

    Grateful for any tips. Thanks.

  25. My link contains an article I wrote about how to make the most of free press releases, how to write them and also a resource list of the free ones that have worked for me. The local newspaper has picked up press releases t I have written many times and have republished them online and in the paper. I firmly believe free press releases written the right way are the biggest online boost for getting rated for your key words than anything else.

  26. James says:

    With our dollar falling south on the greenback can someone share some light on the editorial score. Have just submitted a PRweb release for our site always keen to save more where I can the $80 each time I want to release will kill my no budget approach very quickly.

    “PRWeb charges $80 for their basic level and it goes up from there, but the basic level is good enough for any blogger just looking for a little boost. In fact, if you really know your stuff, you can get away with only paying $40 for distribution, as long as you get an editorial score of 4/5 from their editors.”

    great post
    Cheers
    James

  27. Caleb says:

    Ahh…the old press-release strategies are coming back I see! I studied a while back how including relevant PRWEB release links within your posts brings high quality trackbacks because of PRWeb’s authority status.

    This is yet one more way to make money in 2009.

  28. Rob says:

    Caleb, you do know that your keyword stuffed link anchor text is nofollowed, right? Just making sure. Could save you some time down the road…

  29. maynet says:

    I advise you to to hire a professional before you start!

  30. “I found your post really interesting. I do part-time internet marketing for a couple of my clients. I found social bookmarking really helpful for promoting websites.”