Marketers need to connect with audiences so they can captivate potential buyers and inspire loyalty with current customers. And while an argument can be made that truly good content will be sought after and your audience will find you on your own channels, that’s not always the case.
Today’s customers – more than any generation of buyers before – expect to be entertained on their channels and their terms. They also trust content by influencers and experts 88% more than branded content, according to Nielsen and inPowered MediaLab.
So how can marketers gain influence in this audience-driven marketplace?
As market intelligence firm MarketResearch.com learned, press releases aren’t just for PR anymore. They can help marketers reach new influencers, guide industry conversations, and drive demand generation.
In fact, by distributing press releases that promoted their content, the company increased revenue and brand awareness and delivered 260% more website traffic than all other paid marketing sources combined – including PPC, digital, and other advertising revenues.
If you’ve never considered including press releases in your content marketing strategy, it’s time. It’s also not difficult, with the proper planning.
Follow these five steps to map out a content distribution plan that reaps rewards for your brand.
1. Determine your marketing goals.
PR professionals have long used press releases to reach the media and other influencers. Now it’s marketers’ turn to jump into this underutilized space.
Think about the goals you want to achieve before you develop a press release game plan. Common marketing goals that releases can help achieve include:
- Gaining influencer attention
- Driving online visibility
- Reaching new audiences through targeting
- Generating leads
- Increasing conversion rates
- Expanding brand presence in social media channels
- Engaging with multimedia
As with other marketing content and channels, the goal(s) you select will inform the rest of your press release strategy.
2. Consider your budget.
Even if you have a generous budget, it’s important to use it wisely.
Marketers live and die by results, and for every dollar you spend trying to achieve website traffic, leads, influencer attention, and revenue, you expect to see something in return.
After determining which goals matter most to you, weigh your promotion decisions against them to ensure your actions align with your desired outcome.
For instance, if your performance data indicates that a particular project or piece of content is likely to drive more substantial results, consider alloting more dollars to a series of press releases and a more comprehensive, multimedia-rich distribution.
3. Identify your target persona.
Understanding whom you’re targeting is just as important for press releases as it is for paid search ads, blog posts, and other marketing content.
When writing or working with a writer on a press release, identify the following information about your intended audience:
- The tone, language, and content formats that will resonate best with them.
- The geographic, demographic, and industry targeting that will reach them.
- The optimal combination of digital, social, and media channels that will align your content with your audience’s preferences.
4. Track attribution to goals.
You’ve defined your marketing goals, now plan on how you can demonstrate success. Here are some tips to consider:
- Include a call to action tied to your press release’s intended goal. This can include guiding your audience to a specific piece of content, campaign landing page, product demo, or your website.
- Use trackable links to gather as much data as you can and sync with your marketing automation program for increased efficiency and effectiveness.
- Use a lead generation form. Consider embedding a lead generation form right into your press release, like Roka Bioscience did to capture webinar registrants.
- Capitalize on built-in reporting. Most press release distribution providers offer complimentary and valuable reporting tools.
5. Make your content go viral.
Maximize your content’s chances by creating a compelling, emotionally inspiring message that meshes well with your brand’s image.
You can start by looking at your previous campaigns, identifying what worked well in the past, and emulating it where appropriate. And if you need help on press release specifics, this SlideShare offers best practices for writing releases that get seen in search engines and shared on social.
Never before has there been a greater opportunity to share messages with both established audiences and potential customers.
Press releases can help drive revenue, and that’s top of mind for most of us. Your brand has an amazing story to tell – now get out there and let your voice be heard!
Want to see a successful content distribution strategy in action? Download the case study MarketResearch.com Boosts Visibility & Revenue for more press release best practices that drive demand.
Author Annemaria Nicholson is a solutions & customer lifecycle marketing manager at PR Newswire. In addition to designing integrated marketing programs for PR Newswire and CNW, she’s responsible for promoting the companies’ content and multimedia distribution, reporting, and e-commerce solutions. You can contact her via LinkedIn.
11 Comments on Blog Post Title
Is your Twitter link for this article working?
James Carberry Carberry Communications
Hi, James. I just tried testing the Twitter link we used to share the post over @PRNewswire as well as the Twitter ‘share’ button on the post and they are both currently working. If you are still running into an issue with a link not working, please let me know and I will look into it and follow up. Thank you for reaching out!
Very useful and important tips for online marketing. thanks for share.
I definitely agree with you that press releases are not just useful in PR! Considering I am part of this "new generation", I agree that we tend to get bored with information fast so marketers need to find new ways to grab our attention and be able to retain it because if not we will walk right by it. By only question to you is, where should marketers release these press releases? I read a fact that 63% of Twitter and Facebook users go there to follow the news, so would the press releases be released on social media sites? Or should marketers stick to news stations and company websites?
Wow, great question Lindsey! It’s essential to share content on as many channels as possible, including social, in order to maximize your potential reach. It’s also smart to tailor a unique message/image for each platform, linking back to your original content.
And the fact is, most distribution services offer social posting options and also reach bloggers and journalists that are then much more likely to see and share the message. Distribution also increases a brand’s online visibility, search rankings, and sends to mobile news aggregators/apps making it much more likely that it will get read on mobile and picked up on social channels – something a brand doesn’t have access to on their own.
It’s so important for marketers to look beyond their owned channels to reach new audiences to help increase brand awareness, boost engagement, generate leads and garner earned media and influencer attention, and taking a multichannel approach is the smartest way to do that.
I think a key part in making any marketing plan successful is tracking it’s progress. Whether you use software to help you do this or not it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you keep track of what is effective and what isn’t and then adapt. Not everything will work, and the world is constantly changing meaning that your target audience is always changing. So, make sure any marketing plan you have is easy to adapt after you have started.
Thanks for your comment, James! I agree — monitoring your plan and making sure it’s easily adaptable are very important pieces of the marketing puzzle. Victoria Harres, our vice president of strategic communications and content, just published an interesting look at the variety of metrics marketers can track that will not just prove success, but also inform future content strategy:
Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!
James, you are so right. We marketers need to be scientists and use the data we have to evaluate and improve as we go. Even if we don’t achieve the outcome we hoped for, we’ll still learn something from it. We also shouldn’t be afraid to take risks, and continuously A/B test new ideas to determine how we can improve.
I’m studying marketing and public relations at school right now. I really appreciated this post, especially your tip about identifying your target persona. It would make sense to me that any successful marketing campaign must have audiences properly defined in order to know what distribution channels to use. Thanks for sharing this!
My brother is looking to start up a new company and has been thinking about marketing. He wants his company to be seen but doesn’t know the best way. I like your tip about considering your budget. Also, I like your point about determining your goals and weighing your promotion decisions. It seems that your marketing technique is dependent on your goals and budget.
Impressive article Annemaria! Thank you for sharing!