Debate on whether or not the press release is dead isn’t cut and dry. Business executives don’t know that the press release is dead, since it’s a relatively new concept to not issue them after years of press releases being the staple of public relations. That’s why we’re here to tell you to stop writing them… ASAP.
We’ll take you through how much you’re really spending on press releases, issues with press releases and solutions for ways you can still secure coverage and value from new business announcements without a press release as collateral.
Press releases started off as a hard copy, something you would fax to your target media outlets. The days have since changed, and now thousands of press releases are distributed every single day. That means your news hook that you thought was compelling is getting caught amongst the noise. The truth is that your press releases are a waste of time, energy, money, and risk sabotaging your integrated digital efforts.
Breaking Down The Cost Of A Press Release
- Time: let’s say, on average, a press release takes 5 hours to write, revise, get approvals and upload on the wire. More time would be included if there are other brands or partners in the release that need to approve the content or provide quotes. If you’re paying a PR agency, this would probably cost a minimum of $500 and up to $1,000 for one release.
- Distribution fees: to give you an idea, a minimum, bare-bones distribution fee is around $500. If you’re looking for more reach and capabilities, the price of your press release could reach upwards of $2,000.
Keeping the prices outlined above in mind, if we take the average of these costs, removing one press release could save you $2,000 on average. To qualify that expense on a larger scale, if your company issues press releases on a regular basis like once a month, that means in one year you’re spending $24,000 on press releases that most likely are not moving the needle for your business.
If you are ROI-focused, the $24,000 price of your monthly press releases could be better allocated on ad spend or SEO marketing services, which are more likely to move the needle in terms of conversions.
Problem: If you don’t have a PR push behind your press release, it’s doing nothing
People think distributing a release over the wire means getting your story or announcement picked up organically without any added effort, but it doesn’t always work that way. If you have something incredibly compelling that an editor happens to stumble upon and flag it might work, but nine times out of 10 it doesn’t. Instead of writing a press release or hiring a PR pro to write it for you and then distributing over the wire, there are other ways to get press and public attention more effectively. Ultimately, a press release should never be a stand-alone service.
Solution: Keep your announcement on your website, don’t distribute a release
If you have something newsworthy that is deserving of an announcement, put the announcement on your company blog. You can even write an announcement that is formatted like a press release but is not ultimately distributed over the wire. PR pros can pitch the content to editors directly in the form of either a blog post or an announcement to secure coverage and backlinks to your site, not to a distribution service that is hosting your release.
Strategically pitching an announcement to specific editors who cover similar topics will more likely secure you coverage than casting a wide net through a distribution service. If you’re trying to get on Forbes, you need to reach out directly to the right editor with the right pitch angle and you won’t need a press release to support your pitch.
Problem: You’re not getting SEO value from press releases
If you have links to your website in your release and think that these links are lending SEO value to your website when republished on another website, think again. The only way you’re getting an SEO-valuable link is with unique content. Republishing a press release verbatim on any website won’t be recognized as a link that distributes link equity (and SEO value) to your website.
At best, you can track your website traffic through the referral traffic that comes through that link and publication. To take this one step further, while trade publications and lower tier media might operate off of the wire and pick up press releases, top tier publications like Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal need more compelling reasons to cover your business.
Solution: Again, keep your announcement on your site, don’t distribute
If you’re securing links back to a press release that is not living on your website, it is going to do nothing for you in terms of SEO. However, if you have an announcement living on your website and nowhere else and you secure news coverage with a link to the announcement on your website, then you are getting more value because you’re driving awareness to the site as well as SEO equity from the link.