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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The power of a press release... Bargain exposure...

There are those in the PR biz who claim the press release is dead. They have some fascinating and compelling arguments in support of that position and point toward great alternative methods of "getting the word out."

There are those who argue that improper use of press releases, particularly among webmasters, is one of the chief reasons why the form is losing its power. They have a good point. So many lousy, barely disguised sales pitches are sent out as news releases that media gatekeepers have a harder time finding "the good stuff" and may even be ignoring many releases altogether.

Sounds like bad news for the press release. It must be either dead or dying, right?

Maybe not.

Although this may border on being a bit of rodomontade, I want to tell you about a press release I wrote recently...

The client has a relatively small site right in the middle of a very competitive niche. He was referred to me by someone who thought he might want to investigate using a press release to help jump-start the site.

A new site announcement is about as interesting as last month's weather forecast. With a little work, though, I was able to determine what set this site apart from others and what made it interesting. Working with that "hook," I constructed a press release for him.

It was released either early this morning or late last night (I get confused when people live on the "other side of the pond").

As of now, the release has over 10,000 individual views from only one of the distribution channels. It's estimated that nearly 200 media outlets have picked up the release (again, from that one distributor). Although there's no way to know how often that will translate into a story, it is a positive indicator.

If you searched either Google or Yahoo news right now using the primary keyword associated with the site, you would find the press release in the number two position. Again, this is an extremely competitive term (I just Googled it and found over 94 million sites by searching for the term).

So, for the price of one press release, my client had over 10K people see his link embedded in a good story at which nearly 200 media outlets have looked--in less than twelve hours. He's also getting nice exposure on the two big news sites. The end result will undoubtedly be some great exposure, great backlink creation, and a good "direct" traffic flow. If only a handful of media outlets run with his story, the effect could multiply...

Is the press release dead? Dying? On its way out? One can argue that it is, but for a minimal investment, it is still paying huge dividends.

This concludes the shameless plug for my freelance press release writing services! If you'd like to jump-start your new site or give your existing project a little kick, please get in touch.

Now, back to work!

UPDATE: About an hour later and one distribution channel has now accounted for over 12,000 looks and well over 200 media outlet pick-ups. The client has been contacted by a reporter at one of the largest newspapers in his part of the world. Press releases do work.

UPDATE: Two days after the last update, I was told we were up to over 40,000 looks and over 300 pick-ups. My client has an interview scheduled with the previously mentioned newspaper, who plans to write a Sunday feature about his endeavors.