While the effectiveness of online press release distribution has certainly diminished in the wake of social media, I have found that, when newsworthy, press release distribution can still play an effective role in web marketing for lawyers. In two recent posts, Amy Campbell provides some good advice on leveraging the press and press releases:
Keep this rule of thumb in mind when deciding what is news. Ask yourself, will putting something about this on our website help to better demonstrate to clients and prospective clients who we are, what we do, and position us in our areas of expertise? If the answer is yes, then go for it.
There is no question that press releases as a web visibility strategy are abused. There’s not much worse than clicking over to Google News to find promotional garbage press releases. However, if you actually have something newsworthy, press release distributions may actually help you get your news story picked up by mainstream journalists. And that can be very powerful in terms getting much greater exposure online.
As Amy suggest, the trick is deciding what is newsworthy and what’s not. Further, like other forms of web content, it’s effectiveness will depend primarily on how well the press release is written. Writing an effective press release can be significantly more challenging than writing a blog post. Therefore, you might consider hiring a professional to assist you with writing an effective press release.
After you’ve got a release you’re happy with, there are several steps that you can take to increase the chances that your story spreads. Here are some great tips from Amy:
1. Optimize it. Make sure it takes strategic advantage of the page title and description meta tags and uses good SEO techniques.
2. Tweet it on your firm-branded Twitter page, or via individual attorney Twitter accounts.
3. Share it on firm’s Facebook page.
4. Share some more. Ask attorneys and firm professionals to share it on via their Facebook and/or Linkedin accounts as appropriate. (Sometimes you need to gently remind them to do this.)
5. Send traditional press release to local, targeted media when appropriate.
6. Consider e-distribution. Is there value in sending out via a web PR outlet such as PRweb or another similar site?
7. Post it. Add to local business newspaper websites or events pages as allowed.
8. Push it. Consider adding a link to the news item from your next e-newsletter if appropriate.
9. Blog it. Consider making mention of, and link to news item from your blog, if it adds value in any way.
Getting the word out through your social media channels can help your release pick up steam more quickly. Again, the primary factor in whether your story “goes viral” is the quality and newsworthiness of the release. However, by getting your press release in front of the right audiences, you can have some influence on how well your news story performs online.