Can Press Releases Work For You?

Press Releases

There was a time when experts at public relations (PR) often heard search engine optimization (SEO) professionals say that press releases help their digital marketing efforts, and that they require a lot of them. The SEO press release also gave the PR people a newfound significance, as they were responsible for issuing all of these press releases.

When these digital marketers discovered the correct procedure, the Internet was filling up with press releases that were not newsworthy. Everyone was suddenly posting press releases here and there, in as much as thousands per day. While cyberspace had no problem holding all of this content (considering that it can and will hold limitless amounts of data), this outpouring of press releases actually defeats the real objective of a press release.

The press release is written to let the public know about something newsworthy – simple and straight to the point. The sad thing was these straightforward articles were not utilized well during this era that was controlled by SEO. They were flooding the online landscape because companies only wanted them to drive and market traffic to their corporate sites instead of offering information.

The entire landscape of online PR environment and SEO was once again shaken by Google updating its link scheme definitions. Officially known by the name of Google Panda, this update is designed to bring down the rank of “thin sites” or websites with low quality content according to a list of queries that most individuals subconsciously utilize to analyze websites. This basically means that using an SEO tactic of composing many short articles on numerous web pages may cause your ranking on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) to go down.

The question now is: can press releases work for you? The lazy answer to this would be to stop making use of press releases. The problem is that this response is usually incorrect. There are certain times when businesses must disseminate information using this manner.

For instance, public firms are bound by law (at least in America) to let the public know about their activities. In this case, mass dispersal of press releases is needed. Aside from this, private companies that intend to work on IPOs (Initial public offerings) must not artificially blow up their future values during the “quiet period”. Therefore, if two press releases per month have been posted worldwide, issuing three or more of these will break the rules.

When they are applied in the right way, press releases can still be invaluable. Those truly newsworthy articles will always be an important component in the marketing and communications program that has to have social media and blog posts. Publicly traded businesses must still provide news releases due to regulatory prerequisites. Press releases can also efficiently secure placements in regional media. Finally, these pieces act as documents about newsworthy and official announcements that can be archived and show up in organizational sites.

The truth is that most website owners do not operate sites which have pages filled with poor quality content. This does not mean that they should take Google Panda for granted. Of all the updates released by the search engine giant, Panda is an honest effort to gauge quality.

It will not ask the webmaster how his or her site reached its present rank in the SERP (this is a typical genetic fallacy issue). It basically asks if the whole site and the current page deserve to be in that position according to human quality measures (even if this is not perfect). Most importantly, the webmaster must make it a goal to build a website that complies with Google Panda’s metrics (even if the search engine giant did not exist). A website that scores well with the questions in Panda is more than merely being safe from the scrutiny of an algorithm update; it means that users will experience a website that performs well.

Keep this in mind when you are working on your digital marketing strategies: You do not “do” SEO. This optimization method is not “magical” or made out of a “bag of tricks”. You do not “SEO” anything and just expect it to work. If your press releases are only being used to get links and not offer valuable information, you are attempting to cheat Google. If your articles are simply stuffed with keywords and are spun, you are attempting to cheat Google. Please stop doing this, because you are not performing SEO but spam.

As a whole, the Google Panda 4.0 update is basically working hard to remove useless junk on the Internet. Everyone from internet marketers to webmasters and users noticed these trends. And while Panda has hit many sites since its implementation, it has good intentions overall.

Now that you have read this, ask yourself this question: can press releases work for you?

What’s In Store for Digital Marketing in 2015?

2015 calendar

Photo credit: wiccked / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The only thing constant in life is change.

2014 has paved the way to several innovations and trends in the digital marketing arena including the emergence of new social networks like Ello. Now that 2015 is just around the corner, anticipation of what’s looming in the horizon for digital marketing is high.

Predicting the future can be tricky, but it’s an insightful and fun way to look at the previous year and determine upcoming trends based on the bits and pieces of information gathered. With the mobile web and social media’s rapid evolution and high adoption rate across the globe, knowing the emerging trends in digital marketing may just be the competitive edge you’ve been waiting for.

Ready to take your online marketing strategy to the next level? Here are some bold predictions on digital marketing trends for 2015:


Mobile-only/Mobile-first

Mobile First Practice

Photo credit: Johan Larsson / Foter / CC BY

In 2015, mobile-only/mobile-first approach will become the rule and not the exception. We’ve seen the shift to mobile in 2014, but 2015 will drive the point further prompting all websites to be on mobile. According to Ovum, one billion people will be using their mobile phones as the primary tool for Internet access in 2015.

These mobile consumers will play a huge role in shaping the behavior of online media in a lot of ways. User experience will be a top priority with focus on sophistication and simplicity. The goal is for mobile to be a seamless and hassle-free experience.

Branding remains an important facet in capturing consumer’s attention, but mobile experience is what will make them stay and engage. However, importing your website to mobile just won’t cut it. Mobile websites have to be fully-optimized for better user viewing experience.


IOT (Internet of Things) and Wearables

Google Glass

Photo credit: danishdynamite / Foter / CC BY-NC

From smart cars to thermostats and watches, there is no doubt that Internet of Things (IOT) solutions are causing waves and changing our day-to-day lives- be it business or personal. The idea of managing one’s own ecosystem through smartphones and connected devices is a foreign yet intriguing concept for many users.

Based on a study conducted by Accenture, there will be a gradual increase in the use of wearables like fitness devices and smart watches in 2015. Many businesses are now streamlining their processes from improved supply chain management to efficient manufacturing or hospital using connected devices and employees.

This trend opens another platform for marketers and brands to position their services/products, and reach their target market while on the go. The idea of “reaching people at the right time and place” is now a reality.


Digital Storytelling

Creating compelling stories is already at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. This trend is shown by the shift towards meeting consumer needs and preferences over product placement. Focusing in on their target market and understanding the motivations behind their purchasing behavior can spell the difference between a successful or a flop marketing plan.

Brands need to start connecting with their consumers on all fronts: visual, audio and written storytelling. Focus on creating stories about the brand and its customers then filter these stories in various channels like videos, blog posts, photos and podcasts.

Online Communities

Online Communities

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Building your brand’s online community is nothing new in the digital marketing arena. With the growing population of online users and innovations in social media, the need for online community has never been as important as now.

In 2014, it showed that putting effort and energy in fostering good relationships with their audience led to a win-win situation.
Brands create buzz and excitement around products and services, which makes the audience feel that their concerns are properly addressed. Through online communities, marketers are also able to zero in on issues and needs that are relevant to their audience.

The audience, on the other hand, enjoy the engagement they receive not just from the brand but from other like-minded users as well. This incentive makes belonging to the community worthwhile and justify any product purchase. In addition, loyal customers become brand ambassadors and extend the brand’s influence by reaching to their network outside the community.

Social Media/Content Marketing

Social Media

Photo credit: Jason A. Howie / Foter / CC BY

In 2015, integration of free and paid content into one cohesive content plan will be very important if brands want to maximize their reach. It is not enough to post your free content (through PR, blogs and press coverage) on your website.

You need to cross-promote your content on multiple channels or be left behind. The challenge is finding the balance between reaching your audience without being too aggressive.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, will no longer just about Facebook and Twitter. In 2015, other social networks like Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and WhatsApp will offer sophisticated advertising tools to reach one’s target market better. Brands know that in order for their social media efforts to perform and sync with their digital marketing plan, an investment in any shape or form is required.

With the innovations in technology come the evolution of consumers. As a brand marketer, you need to leverage on these changes by adapting your strategies on what’s effective and not solely rely on the tried-and-tested. That means being on the look-out for these trends (with more in the pipeline), and ensuring your digital marketing plan has room for unexpected changes.

Are you ready for 2015?