Press Release Evolution: The Changing Importance Press release distribution
04/08/2012 // Submit My Press Release Blog // Tiffany Cherry
Press release distribution News: The reasons behind today’s press release have changed slightly since the creation of the news release
Press releases have been in use since the early 1900’s. Long before the dawn of the Internet and press release distribution services writers have been crafting news releases in an effort to bring timely and informative information to the masses. The first official press release was sent out in 1906 on behalf of the Pennsylvania Railroad, covering a major Atlantic City train wreck, in an effort to set the story straight with facts before rumors had a chance to surface. The need for press releases is just as strong today as it was one hundred years ago, but the reasons behind sending press releases has slightly evolved.
Years ago the main function of a press release was to catch the attention of journalists who were regularly scanning the news wires for ideas on articles to write. Press releases were also sent by telegraph and mail, then eventually by fax. Journalists relied primarily on press releases for gaining access to new information. Today with so much news online, journalists are using other tactics to find their news. Often times a journalist may watch a niche news wire for hot stories, but mostly they rely on one-to-one relationships with PR & Marketing professionals who can pitch a unique story idea to them. Print magazine editors also rely on a pre-crafted editorial calendar that lies out the year’s topics in advance. These editors know exactly the kind of news they are looking for and are likely to be approached with stories without ever having to go out searching for one.
Today, online press releases serve a purpose just as important of gaining journalist attention was years ago. The current use of the press release in marketing is best targeted toward creating visibility for a company with their current or potential customers, securing credibility on a topic or optimizing a website. These items all fall under the goal of capturing search traffic.
For the best results in capturing search traffic with a press release, choose a service that has their news indexed in Google News, Yahoo! and Bing. Google News is the main area to target to search traffic because of two reasons. First, having a press release indexed in Google News gives authority to an article and allows readers to feel that the source has some type of credibility verses an article posted to a blog that the search engine does not consider “news”. The second reason for Google News indexing is the ability to get a press release into Google Alerts setup by the public to inform then of news on containing certain keywords. By writing a press release that is heavy with popular search terms and indexed in Google News, a company can have their press release included in a Google Alert sent out to hundreds, possibly thousands of people.
Press releases have also evolved to be used to aid in website optimization, or SEO. When crafting a press release the writer should pay close attention to keyword density and include appropriate anchor text that will boost the ranking of the site it is linked to for the desired terms. For this reason, it is important that public relations professionals work alongside a company’s Internet marketing team. Understanding what keywords to use and how links back to a website can effect it’s search engine rankings is key to successful press release.
While a press release still helps to tell the story of an event, report an important business happening or relay a time sensitive announcement, the function of a press release is focused more on capturing search traffic than gaining the attention of journalists for story coverage. Press release distribution will continue to be an important part of the PR & Marketing professionals tool kit, even as their function continues to evolve.
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