Granted, most small businesses don’t have a PR savvy person on staff and certainly can’t afford tools like Cision, the PR industry’s go-to site for disseminating press information. Even though it may look prestigious to have a press release pop up via a pay-to-send site such as PR Newswire, they just aren’t reaching reporters and editors like they used to, and they’re not likely to be in the face of readers, especially at $200-$2,500 a send.
There are a handful of sites that will disseminate press releases for free, but in most cases, they don’t get the kind of page rankings that show up on online searches, and journos don’t have time to dig more than a page on a Google search looking for sources and things to write about. On the surface, I love Pressitt, a DIY site that guides you through plugging in all the essential information to write a press release, but it lacks an important key component – putting information in the right hands. Throwing a press release out into the winds of social media is like throwing a buck into the Powerball jackpot.
However, earned media, or media attention, is an important marketing tool. A successful press release, which leads to earned media, is dependent on three things: 1. an effective email pitch in 100 words or less; 2. ready-to run content; and 3. knowing your publications, editors, reporters and influential bloggers.
As a contractor friend of mine always says, it pays to hire someone to do the job right the first time — just like I’d never think of installing a light switch or fixing my own plumbing.