Press Releases from a Marketing Perspective




Vocus, the company that owns PRWeb sponsored a study by the Society for New Communications Research. They talked to over 420 marketing and PR professionals about the different ways they view press releases.

It reminds me of the evolution from getting search results and rankings in Google, to a focus on web site traffic and conversion. From what I’ve seen PR professionals are gradually changing perspective. It’s a tough transition because their clients seem to value seeing their name in print over the incremental benefits of traffic and sales.

The difference in perspective between PR and marketing:

PR Professionals

  • Want to get their clients on the news and value exposure in traditional media.
  • The value is in making the client look good in the right circles.
  • Professional image is important.
  • Usually distributed directly to the press.
  • Success is measured by calls from reporters and response from traditional media and high profile blogs.

Marketers and small business owners

  • Measure a press release’s success by the increased traffic to their web site.
  • Concerned with building quality backlinks to their site (for SEO purposes).
  • Press releases are a sales tool and way to reach customers or bloggers directly.
  • A compelling story is more important than building corporate image.
  • Usually distributed online (as in PRWeb).
  • Success is measured by how many people see the press release and how many times other sites pick up the press release.

“73% indicated that it is “important to very important” to reach traditional media via their online press releases while 67.7% indicated that it is “important to very important” to reach bloggers and new media outlets.”

I’m completely biased towards online PR from a marketer’s perspective. It’s difficult for me to write the polished corporate-speak kind of press release or one aimed at getting media attention.

Here’s my issue with getting a write-up in a media outlet onlineĀ  — they control the links. And as an online marketer, the links and the link text are what matter most. You usually won’t get a good link if you’re story is picked up by The New York Times online. What I mean is you’ll likely get a link on the name of your business to the home page. Your online press release however can have a specific link to a specific page (or more than one).

Ideally, it’s not mutually exclusive and the story gets both both good SEO value AND media coverage for my clients. PR professionals: Is your focus more online or traditional media focused? How about your client’s expectations and requests?