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In the "old days" press releases were only read by editors at traditional media outlets; today you can reach your customers directly. Potential customers can read your press releases using search engines, on industry websites, on consumer websites, and even on your company website. As a result, writing a press release means communicating directly with your audience instead of simply trying to attract the interest of an editor or reporter.
So let's start with the basic components of an effective press release strategy:
Since you can communicate directly with customers, focus on their needs. Provide potential customers with the information they need to find your company online, and have a reason to find you online. What kind of information can you share?
Again, don't think about press releases under the old premise of hoping to attract an editor or reporter. A good press release informs current or potential customers and helps them find you; an announcement sharing the news that you just landed a major new customer may cause other potential customers to check you out. The same is true if you win an industry award; while your local newspaper may not be interested, customers may be.
Once you decide what you want to communicate, how can you write a great press release?
Once your press release is ready, it's time for distribution. The best way to reach the greatest number of potential readers is to distribute using several sources. For example, if you hope to attract the interest of a particular newspaper, by all means send your press release to the appropriate editor. Don't stop there: post the release on your website, and send it to at least one of the online news release services. That way other trade and industry sites might find and post your release, too, plus the search engines can more easily find you.
Here are a few of the largest news release distribution services:
Most online news services require a subscription or a per-release fee. Some will limit your release to a geographic area, but most include distribution to sites like Google News on a worldwide basis. Since you want the most potential readers and customers as possible, make sure you post your releases to a service that is included on major online news sites.
No matter what, post the release to your own website. Many online news sites do not keep archives of old press releases; your release may only be "live" for a few months. Maintaining the release on your site ensures search engines can always find your content. Why create something that will disappear in a few months?
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