Traditionally, marketers have used press releases to increase brand awareness for a product or service, but with the increase in digital marketing over the years, there has been a real shift towards using them as a lead generation tool. Marketers are no longer siloed into writing press releases for the media - they are now focused on delivering their news to the masses through a variety of mediums, including the company website and social media. Marketers can now target their customers directly, reach a wider audience through free and paid PR sites, get listed in Google searches, speak directly to their customers’ pain points, and create links to relevant information to help sell their product or service.
When writing a press release for lead generation, here are 5 steps to follow:
- Define your target market – A press release will not deliver results if you are not speaking directly to your target market. Determine who your audience is and write specifically for them.
- Write and share useful content – While focusing on user benefits, write a compelling, time-sensitive press release that includes links, keywords, images, and/or a video to increase interest and drive traffic to your website.
- Build the right media list – You might have a compelling story to tell, but without the right media list, your press release will surely fall flat. Spend some time researching industry publications and developing relationships with editors on staff and revisit your list often to make sure it is up to date and relevant for each press release.
- Distribute/Share – Once your press release is ready, you need to share it on as many pertinent platforms as possible. First, you should include it on your website, and then 24 hours later, send it to industry publications, industry forums, free PR sites, including (e.g. www.postfreepressreleases.com), paid PR sites (e.g. www.prweb.com), and focus some of your efforts on distributing your press release through social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blog, etc.).
- Follow up/metrics – Once the press release has gone out, track the number of mentions and/or features, list the source, follow up on all leads, and report on the overall success of the press release. As time goes on, you may be able to see trends developing.
Follow these 5 simple steps for generating press releases and you’ll be well on your way to using public relations as a lead generation tool. For some more great PR tips, go to 4 Tips to Kick-Start Your PR Effort.