Press releases, which are meant to make announcements and provide specific information briefly have been overlooked by SEO experts and small businesses alike as a measure of boosting online reputation. Press releases seem like nothing, but they go far in shaping public perception of a brand.
For companies that know what they are doing, press releases are a great addition to their media kit. They do more than just talking about the company; they are used mainly to highlight achievements and address major issues. There is a whole lot to be gained when a brand takes press releases seriously.
Why Press Releases are Still Valid
Control the Narrative
Since press releases are from you, the company, you have the opportunity to use it to control the narrative and influence public perception, thereby rightly taking charge of your brand’s reputation management. Even news journalists reference press releases of companies when making news about such.
In case your brand is ever embroiled in a major scandal or crisis, such as a data breach, which generates a lot of attention, a press release is your best bet for damage control. It allows you to explain the situation, apologize or absolve your brand of blame and also make promises to rectify the issue(s).
This is related to the last point. Amidst negative attention, a press release can help divert attention and push the unwanted media far down in search engines. Search engine algorithms give credence to press releases. Therefore, you can count on that in your reputation management.
This is another aspect press releases are useful in SEO. Every SEO expert knows the importance of backlinks on other sites to your pages. It gives your site more authority, improves rankings and boosts brand reputation.
Press releases are a great way to draw public attention to a new product or service, or new updates to existing ones. Testimonials, case studies, etc. that make up different press releases help in this regard. Using a press release with other marketing strategies as you may deem fit helps turn faces in your direction.
How to Use Press Releases for Reputational Management
- Highlight Achievements: While a press release is supposed to give information about the goings-on in your company, highlighting the achievements of your brand is actually what makes it effective. New updates, products, services, board members, etc. This is what actually draws attention.
- Correct Misinformation and Address Crisis: Whenever the brand is embroiled in a major crisis, a press release works best to address public concerns and allay fears. Damage control; I mentioned that already above. While doing this though, take care to not draw negative attention by replying to comments on review sites. Trying to address every critical review with a press release is counterproductive as it will draw negative attention. This point is about using the press release for what’s already a major issue.
- Social Networks and Emails: A press release doesn’t have to be on your website. In fact, it becomes more effective when you make it more personal by sharing it on social networks or email accounts of all customers. A simple ‘letter from the CEO’ sent to various personal emails is great, especially for damage control.
- Use a Press Release Service: A PR (press release, not public relations) service handles the delivery of press releases on behalf of clients. With the advent of press releases as a viable way to boost brand reputation, many of these companies have sprung up. I’ve listed some of the top press release companies below, in no particular order. You can check others out too, compare prices and services to know which is more suitable for your brand.
- PRWeb is a long-standing press release service that promises to increase your online visibility. It has an online distribution network that puts your content out on relevant websites and blogs, social media, search engines, and other relevant publications platform. Along with it, it offers editorial services.
- Another leading press release company is Press Release Jet. It offers writing and distribution services and claims to offer the highest ROI in the press release industry. It produces content, including annual reports, for clients to help reach a targeted audience.
- PR Distribution will be the last mentioned here. Indeed, it is a favorite of many for press release copywriting, especially small businesses, who benefit from its low pricing and discounts
Apple, one of the biggest company in the telecom industry gained entrance into the market scene via their press release in 2007 in which they made the announcement of their phone launch called iPhone. Another one of Apple’s press releases in the past is the announcement of a new iMac.
Apple still uses the press release format to make announcements and control news about them. There’s an archive for all their press releases till date. That’s to show that yes, even the biggest companies in the world still consider press releases very effective in enhancing their reputation. The press release from Apple, which was an announcement featured all the details about the new product, a quote by a top executive to make it more personal, and a vibrant image of the product itself. Other parts of the release are not captures. But then, the point is that if almighty Apple does not ignore the power of press releases, you shouldn’t too.
There’s another example. I’ve talked about press releases being used to announce major happenings within the organization.
That includes the appointment of a new top executive or director, especially when the previous person in the position was embroiled in a series of scandals. That’s exactly what happened with Uber in 2017. After Travis Kalanick stepped down as CEO in June controversially, the innovative taxi company took a rather unconventional way to use a press release to announce the appointment of a new CEO in August. That measure helped bring some calm and freshness to the organization.
If your business has been ignoring opportunities to boost its online reputation using press releases, well… not anymore. Instead of allowing news media, who probably know next to nothing about your company to control narratives about you, why not do that yourselves. This is part of what the big brands use to stay on top, not magic.