Jul 16, 2013

3 Ways to Capitalize on the Longer Lives of Press Releases

lifespan

How long do the press releases you issue maintain news value?

Conventional wisdom says that the news value of an announcement degrades after a day or so.  However, changes in how people find and consume information has given press releases and other content considerably longer shelf-lives.

It’s also worth noting that announcements professional media may overlook at the outset can gain momentum over time and eventually garner coveted pick up, fueled by social buzz that essentially proves the interest in the story.

Press releases have longer life spans, generating views months after they’re issued (tweet this)

PR Newswire’s own data shows that press release views are accruing over longer periods of time.  A few years ago, the majority of views would have accumulated within the first several days of issue.   Today, that timeframe is significantly elongated – on average, releases acquire the majority of their views over a period of four months.

Why is this happening?  The answer is simple.  Audiences can find niche content easily today, and when they find something they like, they share it socially.  However, they are doing all of this according to their own timeframes.  Good content that gains credibility with audiences will also develop better visibility in search engines.  A well-written and informative press release can easily generate this sort of traction with audiences, thus increasing the longevity of the message.

3 ways PR pros can capitalize on the long life span of press releases (tweet this)

The longer lives of the messages we issue brings new opportunities to the public relations departments.  Here are three ways to take full advantage of them:

Write for the long tail.   Craft the message so it speaks to and appeals to your target audience – the actual people your organization wants to take action your message.    Make the content easy to find and share, to encourage readers to post it on their social networks and amplify your message.

Measure results over time.   If you stop measuring results after one news cycle, you’ll leave a lot of value on the table.  Keep an eye on traffic to the message, social shares and media pick up in the months following its issue.

Keep an eye on “dark traffic.”   If you’ve ever seen a web analytics report, you probably noticed that a big chunk of the referring traffic to the web site was described as “unknown.”    This traffic, which does not pass referral information to the analytics program, is generated one of three ways:

  1. When someone uses a URL shortener (very common on social networks,)
  2. When a person conducts a Google search while they’re logged into a Google account
  3. When a person accesses a page either by typing the exact URL into their browser, or clicking on a bookmark they’ve previously stored.

In most cases, an organizations’ dark traffic is generated by the first two activities, and this is especially true of press releases. So savvy PR pros should keep an eye on the unknown dark traffic their releases generate, because that traffic is an indicator of social sharing and search activity – both immensely valuable sources of message amplification and qualified, interested readers.

New School Press Release Tactics: Free Webinar 7/18

Image via Cyclone Marketing

We’ll be devoting more time to the discussion of press release life spans, news value, calls to action, audience engagement and a whole host of “new school” press release tactics in a free webinar this Thursday, July 18.    We’ll look at a variety of condensed case studies and the innovative press release approaches and tactics used by a variety of organizations, and the results they generated.

Panelists include:

Anne Donohoe, (@agdonohoe) Managing Director and Director of Public Relations, KCSA

Beth Monaghan (@bamonaghan) Principal & Co-Founder, InkHouse Communications

Jason Khoury (@jasonkhoury) Director of Communications,  Jive Software

Jenni Rammenger (@jenniramminger) Director of Marketing & Stephanie Pflaum (@stephflaum) Online Marketing Specialist,  Fathom

We hope you can join us! The free webinar will be held July 18, at 1:00 ET.  ** REGISTER **

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik

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