Press Releases: Do they still work?
PR has always been considered an important part of an integrated marketing plan. It helps to create awareness and establish credibility in a way that paid advertising cannot.
Does it work today though? Yes, if you have the right tools and expectations. Here's what we tell our clients:
Don't expect a press release to close a sale
- Drive traffic to your website and social media sites
- Increase tradeshow booth traffic
- Help position you as an expert, creating opportunities for an article, presentation, etc.
What you do with that exposure falls to the "rest of the marketing donut" – great website landing page; a killer demo at the tradeshow; a clear call to action for your audience to take the next step.
As for PR toolkit, you need to first identify:
- Target publications
- Key geographies
- Journalists who cover your technology
We use both a newswire and hand delivery to specific journalists with whom we have an established relationship. The newswire, while not as targeted, provides quality links to our customers' sites, and drives web traffic.
Yes, you do have news
Product releases are natural topics for a press release and even service companies have news. Here's some recent client stories that have driven traffic and interest:
- Mobile Devices A Growing Security Risk: iSecure Presents Practical Solutions at the Rochester Security Summit October 9-10, 2012
Will you be speaking at or sponsoring any upcoming events?
- ASE Optics and Rochester Precision Optics Expand to Serve European Technology Companies
Are you adding any equipment that expands capabilities, adding staff in a new region, opening a new office, etc?
- Eastern Engineering Launches Free Construction Bid Alert Email Service for Contractors
Adding any services or increased web capabilities for customers? New ways to interact with the business or submit jobs?
- ASE Optics Improves High Speed Imaging Lens Performance by 400%
Had a customer success with quantifiable results?
- Hofstadter Analytical Services Expands Predictive Modeling Services Nationally
Even simply begun to market your company more broadly?
Measure to make sure it worked
PR is tricky to measure, but there are some yardsticks:
- Media reads: check against other stories.
- Web traffic peaks: did it cause a blip in your analytics?
- Landing page Call To Action conversion rates.
- Anecdotal wins: if someone approaches you at your tradeshow booth or presentation and says he read about your new product/technology, the word's getting out.
Press releases will be most successful if you leverage the content elsewhere and direct the traffic to a specific landing page or to visit you at an upcoming event. Promoting your press releases on social media sites will expand your coverage to your social community.
Press releases are the first, most obtainable step in a PR campaign. Watch for an upcoming post on higher credibility builders like articles and video interviews.