Whenever a company has a big announcement to make the first thing they think of doing is writing a press release and then choosing a wire service to distribute this 300-500 word, over-edited document. Now don’t get me wrong, distributing your news all over the world at the click of a button for a not-too-expensive-but-just-within-budget fee seems like a brilliant idea. Mass distribution is necessary. You just need to be aware that this is not the only, and probably should not be the first thought you have, when you are thinking of sharing some exciting news.
Don’t count on SEO. Wire distribution services used to be a great way to get some SEO points, but Google has changed how they index press releases. The value a website gets from link-backs from a press release is extremely low.
Most pick-up will be from robots. There is an ever-growing number of feeds, blogs, aggregator sites that automatically pick-up and post all press releases. Some of these sites do filter releases by topic, so there is a chance your news will end up next to other industry-relevant news. However, chances are you will show up in a big list of releases…and it will probably be just the text…and it will probably never be clicked on.
Reach out to your fanboys/girls. If you really want to share your news with people that care and will appreciate the milestone/release/deal/new hire then you need to do some research. Find reporters and bloggers that have written about the similar news. Give them a pitch, offer exclusive information, let them know that you are available for extra commentary or an interview of sorts. Chances are they will at least listen to you. Worst case scenario, if they shoot you down and your news isn’t that big of a deal to them, then they at least know who you are and you can circle back when you have even bigger news.
Putting a press release on the wire is a way of tooting your own horn. It basically makes an event official and gets you a slight boost in search result queries. If you really want to generate buzz you have to get other people excited about your product/service/business. Getting outsiders talking and sharing your news is the best way to grow your exposure and reach real people.