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What is the Significance of Traditional PR? Do Press Releases Really Work?

Press release

Press Releases Exceed Advertising for ROI

A well-written press release will outperform advertising when comparing dollar-for-dollar results or other marketing budgets spent.

The production of six to eight press releases can routinely create the equivalent traffic and customers of purchased ad space that could cost $5,000 or more.

These numbers are not inflated.  Consider purchasing an advertisement in a single newspaper in a reasonably sized city – a half page ad on the other hand, can run at least $1,000 or more – and would be considerably more in a large market like Atlanta.  When properly distributed to the media, a professional press release packs more power to the punch with far less cost than traditional advertising.

Press Releases Build Momentum and Add Credibility
Despite the current climate that fake news is the norm today, potential clients, existing customers, vendors and partners, often trust what is said in the news about a company and in comparison, often tend to distrust advertising by the same company!  The advantage and benefits of receiving positive bona fide news coverage is that it establishes brand credibility.  This can far exceed any paid marketing message.  Simply put, no advertising medium equals the credibility of the legitimate news media coverage and exposure.  This grassroots strategy and continue to build momentum and credibility for a business.

Few Businesses Ever Explore This Method of Communication

Nearly every business purchases paid advertising at some point.  However, very few ever distribute a serious press release that is professionally distributed and well-written.  Moreover, even fewer continue to stay focused and turn it into an ongoing external communications campaign.  In most markets, relatively speaking, there is limited competition so this is an excellent opportunity to generate exposure.

Online News Distributors Encourage Targeted Press Releases

As the public moves toward receiving more content through online media, the increase of press releases being distributed online is widely becoming more effective.  It is an established norm to receive online news for national, regional and local coverage.  With this change, audiences are expected to read about local businesses and form opinions based, at least in part, on those same stories and content.

Know What Works

With the increase of online news, the opportunity for online press release distribution has skyrocketed.  There are several free or low-cost press release distribution sites that post press releases on a website.  A large majority of the press releases published on these sites are not newsworthy and are written in a marketing format that turns off the media.  To be successful the press release must be ‘newsworthy’ and written as a reporter or journalist would write it, not just to sound like a hyped-up advertisement!

Paying a reasonable fee to have the press releases written in the proper format and using the right ‘angles or hooks’ is extremely important.

Press Release Spam
Offline media journalists aren’t interested in press release spam. Buying a media database and distributing the press release yourself will yield little response (and might find your company’s emails being permanently filtered to the trash or spam folder). Targeting your message to the proper journalists is the trickiest part of the trade.  This is where the research and targeted approach comes into play.

Online Sources Feed Offline Media
Journalists are overworked and carrying multiple responsibilities, not to mention working on tight deadlines.  Many times, they visit just one or two sources to obtain their news or press releases. As a result, they go to the large or trusted source of newsworthy press releases: PR Newswire or BusinessWire.  If the marketing budget will allow, this source can be more effective than any other, and placement with them will usually make a big difference in the results.

What About Space Constraints?
The more space a newspaper produces, the more advertising they can sell, including remnant ad space. Today, while newspapers are suffering from a lack of high-paying advertisers, most have a backlog of advertisers willing to take remnant ad space at a huge discount.

More ads on being shown on single pages and overall less content.  Additionally, there are more public service ads, since sales are down. Overall, newspapers are suffering from a lack of content, not a surplus of content. A well-written, newsworthy press release stands a greater chance of being published today.

Tip:  Press release campaigns should be a part of every marketing plan especially if a business is in a competitive industry.