Why should I write a Press Release?

I’ve talked with quite a few clients about Press Releases and articles lately and wanted to share with them some information I’ve found about press release effectiveness.

  • Why do we write press releases?
  • How are they going to help us make sales on our eCommerce Website?
  • Are they really worth the time you have to invest?

These are a few questions I’ve had myself regarding the press release concept. Below is an interesting case study I found aobut the power of an effective press release.

Millions of people use news search engines to find articles and press releases from the past 30 days. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, Yahoo News had a unique audience of 21.6 million visitors in March 2004 and Google News had a unique audience of 4.9 million visitors that month.

News search engines have also become an indispensable tool for journalists. According to a Middleberg/Ross Survey, 98% of journalists go online daily, 92% for article research, 81% to do searching, 76% to find new sources or experts, and 73% to find press releases.

Savvy marketers are harnessing this phenomenon.

On February 12, 2004, Southwest Airlines issued a press release that announced, “Southwest Airlines Offers Low Fares to Philadelphia; Airfare to Philadelphia as Low as $29 to $99 One-Way. Southwest PR Department used SEO-PR to optimize the press release so it would appear when prospects or the press searched for relevant terms on Google News or Yahoo News.

Using unique tracking codes in links embedded in the press release and customized landing pages on its site, Southwest found that this one release generated more than $80,000 in advanced ticket sales. In other words, potential passengers read the press release on one of the major news search engines, clicked on a link in the release, went to http://www.southwest.com/cities/philadelphia.html, and ordered over $80,000 worth of tickets months before Southwest service to Philadelphia started on May 9.

In addition to the ticket sales, the press release also generated publicity. The New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Dallas Morning News, St. Petersburg Times, Philadelphia Business Journal, and half a dozen other media picked up the Philadelphia story. (source)

How would that be? Are you a bit more motivated now to write a press release?

If you’re like me, time is money. I do refer clients to places like www.elance.com or www.getafreelancer.com. These are websites that offer services from free lancers all over the world. They will give you bids on how much they’ll write a press release or article for.

Where do I post my Press Release?

Great question! Thanks to Newspapergrl, a fellow blogger and colleague, I found a great press release article by Ponn Sabra that should help. It’s a detailed list of Press Release directories that’s in order of page rank. It also gives pricing options – yes, some of them do cost money.

Hope this helps. What are your thoughts or successes with Press Releases?

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31 Replies to “Why should I write a Press Release?”

  1. Hi Nate,
    As usual, your info is timely and helpful. As I see it, you’ve given me more tools with which to ultimately build my customer base; tools that not every eCommerce entrepreneur knows about. I’m glad I made the decision to go with Prosper, which resulted in you being my eCommerce mentor. I shudder to think of how much time and money I might otherwise have wasted, and probably still would not have been able to gain on my own the knowledge that you have made readily available to me.
    Thanks, my friend!

    Don

  2. Hi Nate. I guess this shows how important a press release can be. another great way to direct traffic to your site Nate. I am going to start on a press release as soon as possible. Thanks again Nate.

  3. Good article! So much good information! I’ve been reading for over an hour, and I can see why articles are so important to our business. Now I just have to focus and do it. Someone said thinking about doing a job is much harder than actually doing it. I agree.
    Thanks for the information and the links to the press release sites.

  4. Nate, the Southwest example really did shed light on why they are so valuable. I’m sure most of us are looking for affordable or free ways to promote our business to our target customer. It really can be a challenge to come up with news worthy information, but I can get creative when I want to be. Thanks again for the great information.

  5. Well this all looks great sadly the offer from PRWEB is over.
    However I can still get the ebook from Ponn re SEO optimised press releases. So, I’m planning to get that. Good to see that PRWeb deals with the uK as I feel a bit worried about my articles only being picked up in the US which is no custom for me. Still, so far I’ve had 2 links to my site from an article I wrote and one of them was from the UK. So here’s hoping the press release is more successfull

  6. This is an excellent example of the power of a PRESS Release,
    ( $ 80,000.00 worth of tickets)
    I remember another great example of this powerful tool with
    Sara Holiday, – I’m sure you are familiar with this case.

    Anyway Thank you, and also Ponn Sabra for sharing great info !

    Rene G.

  7. Thanks Nate and Ponn for the great information. We also will be doing PRweb orientation webinar.
    As we are putting together the puzzle of internet marketing and learning where all the pieces fit, we realise that press releases are an invaluable tool and as with anything I guess the hardest one to write will be the 1st release. We are not gifted writers but no doubt as we go along our writing skills will improve and its sites like this that make the process much easier. THANK YOU!

  8. This falls right into my weakest area, writing. I am grateful for the advice and resources provided by this blog and Ponn’s. I am looking forward to the webinar and learning the “ins” and “outs” of the press release world. Thanks!

  9. We’ve been finding out the obvious, the more you get the word out ablout your business, the more exposure and the more sales. Like others that are new in this game we find the actual foing is a lot easier than the thinking about it. Thanks for the info.

  10. Hey Nate,

    Really great information on the press release. I was a little skeptical what would be the gains of issuing a press release for my Office Gossip and boss bitching site: http://www.OfficeGupshup.com, but the kind of traffic figures you have given, I think its all worth the effort for me to give it a shot!!

    Hats off to the effort you and Ponn have put in getting this article and list together!!!

    Cheers!

  11. Wow, really good information, thank you Nate. This site offers some really good insight to press releases and links to support it. It is one I will be coming back to often.

  12. Thank you for the article about the power of press releases. I am just writing my first press release and am thankful for all your references and Sabra’s list of directories.

    I will also do PRweb’s webinar.

  13. Definitely a good way to zoom up the rankings. I’ll be using press releases once my concept is more fully developed and I feel ready to let the world know about it.

  14. Hola Nate,
    Great information on writing Press Releases from you and Ponn Sabra. I will take advantage of the offer at PRWeb.com to participate in the new orientation webinar to learn all the “ins” and “outs” about the Press Release writing trade. I for one plan to take advantage of all the sites mentioned in both your articles to learn as much as I can on writing the best press releases possible. As you say Nate, it all comes down to learning and Practicing what we learn.

  15. This is great, I will be coming back to this page often till I really understand how to write a press release and where to post it. Thank you all for the great info, Thank you Nate for sharing this treasure.
    Gina

  16. Thanks for the suggestions Nate! We just launched a Press Release Builder Tool to help entrepreneurs build press releases and I linked this post as a valuable resource for our readers under the Step 5: More Resources section.

    Keep up the great work!

    Evan.

  17. Hello Nate,

    Thanks a lot to you and Ponn Sabra and the great information you gave out to us.

    Your information clearly reveals how we can get news of our website, products, etc. out there for the world to see, click on our site or click on our links and want to continually return and continually buy our products.

    I plan to work on a press release immediately for my product and I certainly will be writing more and more articles.

    Thanks again for all of the help to bring us success.

  18. Excellent article, Nate.

    Thanks for publishing this one, and for referencing Ponn’s great list of distribution services.

  19. Interesting articles, I never thought of a writing articles and using them as press releases. I like the idea of using keywords to write articles about. That should give me ideas for a good while.

  20. Thanks for the great response Ponn. I will definitely pass this information on and take advantage of it.

    Patsy, like you said, writing a press release can be really intimidating. Remember that “something newsworthy” doesn’t have to be a break through in the industry. I’ve seen “newsworthy” press releases that just announce that a site is now running. Is that blatant advertising or what!? But if it passes with the press release sites we submit it to, we know it’s working. I also like what you said about PRACTICE: with everything we do here, with all the things you’re learning, PRACTICE is crucial. There’s a reason the cliche goes as it does – “Practice makes perfect!” Thanks for the comment.

  21. Great information, Nate! I think press releases can do a tremendous amount of good for your company, as you point out in your article. Also, thanks for the link all the press release sites–very helpful.

    To me, as just a very small site, it’s rather intimidating to come up with a release. Mainly, it’s difficult to find something newsworthy to write about, especially something that doesn’t just sound like it’s promoting the site. But I’m very new at writing press releases, and I’m sure the more I work on it the easier it will become.

    Articles aren’t too hard anymore, and I think with a bit of practice–and this great list–press releases will start to flow more smoothly, too.

  22. HI Nate!

    Thanks for sharing my list with your readers. It was a great undertaking, and since its post, we found half-dozen new ones to add, so please stick around.

    As for learning how-to write the best press releases online, the best place to learn is via PRWeb.com and I have a partnership right now with them, that we are offering a free $200 top-of-the-line press release for free, in which you get to participate in a new user orientation webinar and learn all the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ about the trade.

    Please try out this great offer, as PRWEb.com has never offered anything of this magnitude before!

    Click here for details.

    BTW, great resource site!

    To our success & empowerment,
    Ponn