Just emailing the same press release as you would have sent in the post is a wasted opportunity, because there's so much more you can do with a press release distributed online.
Yesterday I mentioned that for most companies, the only change in their press releases over the past 20 years has been to email them out instead of posting them. This is a wasted opportunity, because there's so much more you can do with a press release distributed online.
The first is to do with the fact that many websites will just publish your press releases as received. This means that you can include extremely worthwhile links in the press release, and often see them appear exactly as you set them up, on decent websites. As we've discussed here before, the very best external links to improve your Google ranking are those featured in the main body of text, surrounded by good technical content. So if I was launching a new control system for use with 4-20mA aerospace widgets, I'd take the opportunity to slip in a link to my page on that associated term too – just as I've done in this sentence. Everyone benefits from this: the readers of the press release (including the editors it's primarily aimed at) get a useful background link, and (if it remains in the published press release), you get a nice link from an external site, promoting your page on that term in Google.
Don't stuff your press releases with dozens of links, but two or three considered ones should be standard practice.
The second opportunity offered by press releases distributed online is to use multimedia. Remember, your press release is a sales presentation to prospects as much as it is to editors. If you've got associated slideshow presentations, videos and documents (such as brochures), then it makes no sense not to use these. Many of your competitors will be doing so. Research shows that multimedia content gets better press release results because it appeals to additional outlets and gets shared more, as well as holding recipients' interest for longer in the first place.
Those of you who've made three company videos in the past ten years might be wondering how on earth you could include video content with a press release. We've been applying ourselves to solving that challenge too, over the past few months, and we think we have the answer. I'll cover it in detail next week. But don't think that half a dozen paragraphs of text and a digital image is adequate for an effective press release any longer. It needs to be a whole package of information.