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A guide to Online Press Release Distribution Services

Posted by admin on 28th June 2010

This is a guest post by Adam Parker, CEO at Realwire

Why use one?

The low cost of publishing online means that, in many sectors, there can be a large number of relevant editorial and social media sites who might be interested in talking about your news. But the scale of this challenge can, perhaps, appear daunting, or at least very time consuming. So how do I increase the reach of my story in an efficient way? One potential solution to this challenge is a press release distribution service.

Press release distribution services:

  • provide content hosting platforms to ease the provision of news to the online world;
  • achieve improved online visibility for your story through publishing on sites such as Google news – that can only be reached directly by selected publishers;
  • and use techniques like RSS, email and Twitter to reach potentially relevant and interested editorial sites and bloggers.

All of which can save time and money, improve search engine optimisation and lead to increased and more influential coverage.

What should my press release be like if it’s distributed online?

A press release doesn’t truly become “online” in nature just because it is published on a website. Ideally an online press release is a release that is designed to take advantage of the breadth of digital tools that are available to help you tell your story. It is not just the written word. This means potentially:

  • linked multimedia content – audio, video, graphics and images to enhance your storytelling;
  • allowing people to share the release, link to it, comment on it – thus facilitating a conversation based on it and then tracking the resulting reactions;
  • directing people through links to other places where information relevant to the topic can be found.

Notwithstanding the technology it must be written in plain English and laid out in such as way as to be accessible by everyone from a journalist to an end reader.

What should I consider when choosing a service provider?

First of all don’t get drawn in by big numbers e.g. “We have 100,000 contacts we can distribute to and our website has one million visitors.” The vast majority of these contacts and visitors will not be relevant to you and your story.  If a site has one million pieces of content and every one was of interest to one person searching in Google every month then it would have one million unique visitors a month. Sounds impressive until you realise that means an average of one reader of your story a month. At best you will therefore end up getting a lot less than you perceived and at worst you will be contributing to the massive amount of PR spam that gets created every day.

Keep three key things in mind – “right people, right time, and right format”, and ask these simple questions:

1)    Do they have distribution potential to sites that are relevant to you?

2)    Can they demonstrate that they get results (and not just occasionally)?

3)    Do they understand the importance of timing?

4)    Do they allow you to tell your story in different ways e.g. via multimedia?

5)    Do they understand Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and have they taken account of this in their service?

If you keep these factors in mind distribution services have the potential to help you increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your online public relations activity.


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